Soccer

Scholes & Rio urge Solskjaer to ditch Man Utd player after West Brom win

Manchester United legends Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes have both urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to ditch one of his holding midfielders, particularly against teams they are expected to beat.

The Red Devils finally won a Premier League game at Old Trafford on Saturday night though had to work hard for their victory, escaping a penalty call before Bruno Fernandes netted the decisive goal of the game from a spot-kick of his own.

United did not create a horde of chances, though goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made several super stops, and both Ferdinand and Scholes feel the team’s creativity is being hindered by their overly cautious line-ups.

‘I think at home, where you can have a lot of the ball, I don’t think the quality is quite there for the both of them,’ said Scholes of United’s holding midfield duo of Fred and Nemanja Matic on BT Sport.

‘Whether it’s Fred and Matic or Fred and Scott McTominay, they’re both good at sitting and controlling games of football, protecting the two centre-halves, which is really why they’re playing.

‘The problem is we’ve got defenders who, one-on-one, aren’t very good at defending. So we need those two sitting players to protect the back four.

‘There’s no reason why, at Old Trafford against West Brom, one holding midfielder shouldn’t be enough.’

Ferdinand agreed, adding: ‘That’s the problem when you play the two sitters there, if one or two of them can’t pass then it makes it a bigger problem.

‘If you’ve not got a threat with a 30 or 40-yard pass from deep, teams don’t have to come out.

‘When you played against our team with Scholesy, the opposition midfielders had to come out to get Scholesy as he’d hurt them from that distance – then we’d be able to play the forwards in behind.

‘The main problem is that the two centre-half players need to be protected, that’s why he’s playing two central midfielders that are holding.’

United had failed to win their first four home games but their victory over West Brom keeps them within seven points of top spot in the Premier League with a game in hand.

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