Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken out amid criticism over his options in central midfield – admitting he’s looking for what he calls ‘complete’ midfielders who are able to contribute to all aspects of the game.
United’s big weakness has been pointed out by media and fans as the central midfield area – with many pinpointing that the lack of a holding player capable of breaking up play may end up costing United in their pursuit of major trophies.
The club made three strong signings in the summer transfer market by acquiring Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, but they chose not to add to the centre of the pitch given the options they have there already and key targets being too expensive.
United did hold interest in the likes of Ruben Neves from Wolves and Eduardo Camavinga, who joined Real Madrid, but the club’s main interest as it stands is in Declan Rice – who 90min understands United will look to pursue in 2022.
Jesse Lingard, who is in talks over a new contract with the club, ended up dropping into midfield during the Champions League clash with Young Boys earlier this week, and played a short back pass which ended up costing United the game.
Solskjaer has come in for criticism for his decisions in game and in a press conference ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Ham, he went into more depth on what exactly he’s looking for in a central midfield option.
“I’m not here to explain every single detail of how I want my team to play,” Solskjaer said: “We want central midfielders who can play. Today’s football is about he’s a good 6, 8, 10 – but back in the day you had proper midfielders; Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Bryan Robson.
“You see players out there who can attack and defend and that’s what we look for, midfielders who are complete and we try to develop that in our midfield.
“It’s a balance between how many you commit forward and how you defend, because one little mistake and there’s a counter attack towards you. Football is a simple game and it’s about making good decisions and being in a team.
“Sometimes we look too much into the all intricacies, but it’s passion, it’s desire; who wants to win the ball? Which one of the strikers has the desire to get on the end of crosses?
“You can talk about all sorts, it looks nice on paper. But when you go out on that pitch, it’s who wants to win, that’s one of the big things. You want winners and I think I’m getting there with my team, team players.”