Rio Ferdinand believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must settle on a strategy at Manchester United.
Solskjaer’s decision to revert to a five-at-the-back system against RB Leipzig backfired as the Reds crashed out of the Champions League.
The Reds needed one point from two games to qualify from the group stages but now drop into the Europa League after being deservedly beaten 3-2.
Individual defensive errors cost Solskjaer as United fell 3-0 down midway through the second-half, giving them too much to do despite the goalscoring efforts of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba late on.
But ultimately, the United manager got it wrong with his system after ditching the diamond setup that was so effective in the 5-0 victory over Julian Nagelsmann’s men in the reverse fixture.
Ferdinand believes United looked disjointed with a back five and Solskjaer needs to establish an effective playing style at Old Trafford.
“They looked like a team that didn’t know how to play with a back five,” he told BT Sport, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“Listen, when you play more as a back three, but when you play like they were, pinned back as a back five, you still look disjointed and they couldn’t defend crosses.
“They were being overrun totally in midfield as well. I think Manchester United need to have a plan. A strategy of playing consistently so that players can start to build relationships based off of memory, based on knowing where people are going to be on the pitch.”
Flexibility in approach is important against dynamic opposition but Ferdinand’s call for continuity should be listened to.
And it is concerning that the Reds are still searching for an identity almost two years into Solskjaer’s reign.
Although rotation is important in a congested fixture period, the Norwegian must consider what his best team is so players are comfortable and can build understandings together.