Solskjaer ‘vetoed’ Carrick, McKenna plan to change Man Utd style

Joe Williams
Man Utd trio Michael Carrick, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Kieran McKenna sit next to each other

Former Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rejected calls from Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna to alter their style of play earlier this season.

Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday after a 4-1 loss to Watford at Vicarage Road which saw the Red Devils slip down to eighth in the Premier League table.

The result meant Man Utd have now lost five of their last seven Premier League fixtures, while they had won only three of their last 11 matches in all competitions before their 2-0 victory over Villarreal on Tuesday night.

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Caretaker boss Carrick guided United into the knockout stages of the Champions League with the win at the Estadio de la Cerámica as the club’s hierarchy search for an interim manager until the end of the season.

Towards the end of his reign as manager Solskjaer deployed a three at the back system to try and make his side more solid after a 5-0 thrashing against Liverpool.

The Manchester Evening News claims that Carrick and McKenna ‘wanted United to play with a back three sooner and arrest their porous defending’ but that Solskjaer ‘vetoed’ their suggestion to ‘adopt a different style of play’.

The report adds:

‘Solskjaer had intended to change to a 4-3-3 formation in pre-season but United remained in a 4-2-3-1 until the 5-0 drubbing by Liverpool prompted a temporary switch to a back three against Tottenham, Atalanta and Manchester City.

‘United beat Tottenham 3-0 in the formation but abandoned it before half-time at Atalanta due to injury to Raphael Varane and changed to a back four for the second-half against City as they were 2-0 down.

‘In Carrick’s first match in charge against Villarreal, United started in 4-2-3-1 but changed to 4-4-2 without the ball and 4-3-3 with it. Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial and Fred all changed roles throughout the 2-0 win.’

Meanwhile, Paul Scholes said he would be “embarrassed” being on the Man Utd coaching staff now after Solskjaer was sacked from his job.

“It’s the same people running the team, it’s the same people who had been given massive responsibility every single week to put that team on the pitch,” Scholes told BT Sport before Man Utd played Villarreal.

“Arguably, it’s more Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick who have been preparing the team. Ole gave them that responsibility to do that. So how that changes now, I don’t know.

“I’d be almost embarrassed being on the staff now after what happened to Ole, to be preparing the team for tonight. I think they should have all gone. Whether it was sacked or off their own back.

“Because they were part of Ole’s team. Ole trusted them each week to prepare the team for games. They’ve let the players and the club down as much as Ole has.

“I get the impression with Ole, he put a lot of trust into Michael, he put a lot of trust into Kieran, he put a lot of trust into Mike Phelan, which is why they shouldn’t be at the club now, I don’t think.”