Wolves v Manchester United: The low-down on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side

By Luke Hatfield | Wolves | Published:

Wolves host Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter-final this weekend - but what can we expect from the Red Devils?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

We spoke with Charlotte Duncker, football writer for the Manchester Evening News, and Ben Guest, co-owner of TheFootballFaithful to get an inside take on United.

See what they had to say here...

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has obviously taken to the United job very well, can you explain how him coming in has seen such a dramatic up turn in form?

CD: A lot has changed at the club since Solskjaer took over, it would be unfair to the Norwegian to say all he's done is put smiles back on faces in the dressing room.

That has definitely happened, the mood has improved around the training ground and the players are enjoying their football.

But United have changed tactically since he took over too with Solskjaer setting up to attack in every game, something that wasn't key in Mourinho.

Things had stagnated under the Portuguese so there was bound to be an uplift in terms of results and mood once he left but nobody would have predicted the impressive run United have gone on since Solskjaer took over.

Romelu Lukaku


BG: A lot was initially made of how he has put a smile on the faces of the United players, and was getting results simply because the players were enjoying themselves again, and that is clear to see.

But that can only take you so far, and he (alongside Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna) has shown a good element of tactical nouse to beat the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, all away from home.

One thing that has been noticeable has been the intensity of United’s play, with the team pressing aggressively through the players like Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera.

They have also been counter attacking far quicker, and with greater numbers, than was previously seen under Jose Mourinho.


How seriously have United taken the FA Cup this season, has it been something of a priority?

CD: With United out of the title race and very very unlikely to win the Champions League the FA Cup remains their only chance of silverware this season so it's definitely a priority.

Solskjaer's picked teams where he has rotated enough to give some fringe players a chance to prove themselves while striking the balance of a team that has enough threat to get through to the next round.

BG: It’s Manchester United, and trophies will always be a priority, and having already knocked out Arsenal and Chelsea, it would be incredible if Solskjaer is not eyeing up the chance to get his hands on the FA Cup once again.

United are now among the hot favourites to win the famous trophy, can you picture them winning it?

CD: In current form there's no reason why they can't go all the way.

Looking at the teams left and the confidence within the dressing room they'll fancy their chances.

BG: Absolutely, with City, United and Wolves being the biggest teams left in the competition, and one of them guaranteed to be sent packing this weekend, it is a great opportunity for any side, not just United to win the Cup.

Manchester United have had some marked success following Mourinho's exit.

The two sides haven't come across each other since September, with Jose Mourinho in charge for that encounter - can you imagine a similarly tight game this weekend?

CD: I can imagine the game will be similarly tight but Wolves will be facing a different United side than the one they came up against in September.

BG: While I can imagine it being similarly tight in terms of the score line, I would also imagine it will be a totally different kind of game to that we saw back in September, and I would imagine the fans down at Molineux could be in for a treat.

What sort of style of play can Wolves expect from United this weekend?

CD: The key message Solskjaer instils in to his side is to go all out attack, no matter who the opposition.

Individual players have stepped up their game with Solskjaer transforming their performances.

With it being United's only realistic chance of silverware this season too expect a much different side to the on they faced at Old Trafford at the start of the season.

Marcus Rashford.

BG: While there has been a lot said about how Solskjaer has brought attacking football back to Manchester United, it’s actually slightly misleading.

United have been content to sit back and defend, before unleashing counter attacks, and I wouldn’t be expecting anything different against a Wolves side who have shown themselves to be very capable of competing with the big boys this season.

Are there any injury worries at United? What's your predicted XI for the game?

CD: While the injury situation is better than it was against PSG there's still a number of players sidelined, although with another week to recover there's the possibility they could return.

Mata, Lingard, Sanchez and Herrera all missed the defeat against Arsenal as did Jones, Darmian and Valencia although the latter three would have been unlikely to get near the starting XI anyway.

Solskjaer's tended to mix his team selections up for the FA Cup so there could be a couple of changes to the team that played against Arsenal.

He suggested Herrera was nearly ready ahead of the last game so he could feature and Romero will start ahead of De Gea as he's United's cup 'keeper.

Ashley Young is suspended, so expect Diogo Dalot to step in there.

Romero, Dalot, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Herrera, Rashford, Martial, Lukaku

Ashley Young won't be able to feature.

BG: United have been riddled with injuries of late, but it seems as those problems are starting to ease, with the likes of Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial all returning to training recently.

Alexis Sanchez is out, but personally, I wouldn’t class that as a worry.

What's been your take on Wolves from afar this season? Could you see Nuno's side making tilt for the FA Cup if they can get by Solskjaer's side?

CD: Impressed with the style of football they've been playing and they're already pulled off some big results in the league so there's no reason they can't do it in the FA Cup.

If they win on Saturday their biggest challenge is going to be having to beat Manchester City, they've managed two draws against them already this season but they're going to have to go one step further if they want to win it.

BG: In a word, impressed.

They look like a properly established Premier League side, and while the headlines generally seem to go to the likes of Jimenez, Jota and Neves etc, Doherty and Boly have caught my eye also.

Wolves’ record against the top six clubs speaks for itself, and if they were to come up against Man City in the semi’s or the final, there is no reason why they couldn’t win the cup for a fifth time.

Paul Pogba could be a big threat.

Your match prediction?

CD: United to edge it 1-2.

BG: Both my head and heart are in agreement with this one, and I can see a narrow victory for United. 2-1.

You can follow Charlotte on Twitter here, or keep up with Ben's content here - or visit the Football Faithful website.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield

Digital Sports Journalist with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.


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