Man Utd caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has hailed the effect of ‘reliable’ defender Victor Lindelof.
The Sweden international has largely struggled to hit the heights since making his £30m move from Benfica in 2017 but has undergone a rejuvenation since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in the dugout.
Lindelof’s 2018/19 improvement: five key things to know…
- Victor Lindelof moved to Old Trafford from Benfica in 2017.
- The Sweden international started just 13 Premier League games last season.
- He has already started 23 Premier League games this season.
- Lindelof has made more clearances (102) than any United player and has second-highest pass accuracy (88.87%).
- Solskjaer has hailed his ‘reliability’ after making the left-sided centre-back spot his own.
And Solskjaer has heaped praise upon the 24-year-old, who has made more clearances (102) than any other United player this season, nailing down his spot at left-sided centre-back.
“Against PSG, in the last 20 minutes, I know they were 2-0 up so they were happy, but I thought we held our own and Victor back there marshalled the troops, so we can go there and score a goal and make it chaotic in the last 15 or 20 minutes,” Solskjaer told United’s official website.
“He’s a big, big plus. His performances have risen and really improved.
“He’s playing more on the left side; he started really well on the right side with Phil Jones, now Chris Smalling has come in and done really well, so he has loads of partners to play with. I think he’s easy to play with for the other centre backs because he’s so reliable.”
Despite performing admirably in Solskjaer’s defence, it is Lindelof’s ability on the ball which has been most valuable to Man Utd this season.
This was perfectly highlighted during Saturday’s 3-2 win over Southampton, where the former Benfica man completed all six of his attempted passes into the final third and was accurate with 89% of his forward passes.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Solskjaer throws down the gauntlet ahead of PSG
United may be 2-0 down to PSG after the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie, but their record-breaking away form under Solskjaer has the Norwegian in a bullish mood ahead of Wednesday’s second leg.
The Red Devils’ eight-game unbeaten streak on the road surpasses anything achieved during the trophy-laden reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, and Solskjaer believes this could be a deciding factor in Paris.
“We can’t write games off, we’ve been fantastic away from home,” he said. “We’re not going to go out without giving a fight.
“We’re going to go out there and enjoy the game. We know it’s a difficult place to come and they [PSG] played really well at Old Trafford, so it’s a great challenge for our players to go out there and show what they can do.
“We’d rather win 4-2 than try to get a 2-0. We’ve got to get to half-time better off than we are now. If you can get to 1-0 at half-time then anything can happen in the second half.”
And on United’s recent record away from home, he added: “It’s an incredible achievement by the players.
“They go into away games now knowing that we can defend well and we’ve got pace on the counter. They’ve been very confident away from home so hopefully, we can take that to Paris because we have to – we’re playing against top, top players.”