Phil Neville has hailed the tactical awareness of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his Manchester United dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup last night.
Arsenal were the dominant side throughout the game in terms of possession, but only created a handful of chances, and Manchester United soaked up pressure before releasing wave after wave of devastating counter-attacks.
The Red Devils broke the lines twice in three first-half minutes, with Romelu Lukaku sliding perfectly weighted balls into Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard, who both coolly slotted past retiring veteran ‘keeper Petr Cech.
The Gunners did pull a goal back through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before the break, only for substitute Anthony Martial to seal United’s progression to the fifth round.
Much has been made of the way that Solskjaer has galvanised the Manchester United squad after the dressing room had become fractured under Jose Mourinho, but former United and Everton full-back Phil Neville thinks that the Norwegian deserves recognition for his ‘tactical awareness’.
“It was a brilliant performance from United,” Neville told the BBC.
“I think what we have seen from Ole is that it’s more than just giving people love it is about tactical awareness. The two substitutions at the end there sealed the game, brilliant performance from United.”
United replicated the tactics that they employed against Spurs recently, using two forwards – Lukaku and Sanchez – in slightly wider roles to exploit the space in behind the Arsenal full-backs, with Jesse Lingard playing through the middle as a false nine.