'The defence Jose Mourinho found appalling isn't that bad after all' - Daniel Harris

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

01:14 25 Feb 2019

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Daniel Harris shared his surprise regarding the tune Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been getting out of Manchester United's defence on Monday's OTB AM.

Assessing United's 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, Harris reflected on what this notable upturn in form said of the club's previous manager Jose Mourinho, and his generally dismissive opinion of United's defensive options. 

"The defence that Mourinho thought was appalling is actually not that bad at all," Harris stated. 

"I think they’re seven from eleven clean sheets, so you don’t do that by mistake."

Applauding the brand of attacking football that Manchester United have been playing under Solskjaer, Harris identified the importance of a change in tactical emphasis.  

"They haven’t done it simply by packing the back four and sitting very deep although they had to do that a bit yesterday," Harris argued. 

"It wasn’t a panicky clean sheet in the way it was against Tottenham where De Gea had to make a load of saves.

"They actually looked very solid in defence and you didn’t expect them to let anything in."

Harris highlighted that by trusting his back four Solskjaer has enabled his forwards to stay nearer to the opposition’s goalmouth where they can do damage on the scoreline.

"That is a big improvement under Solskjaer and just as significant as their ability to attack properly," noted Harris, "in fact, the way that they defend is allowing them to attack properly."

"It’s about a team finding it’s edge again, finding a way to get results in adverse circumstances and that is a very key element in any manager.

Harris concluded that Solskjaer would need to maintain United’s position in fifth on the Premier League table as if they were to fall further then he wouldn’t get the managerial role: "They could collapse from here and end up in sixth and if they do that he won’t get the job."

"If they keep going the way that they’re going then he’s got a really good chance of getting the job."

Written by John Morley 

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Daniel Harris Jose Mourinho Liverpool Manchester United Premier League

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