Home Sports Paul Scholes critical of Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first-half tactics

Paul Scholes critical of Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first-half tactics

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‘It’s the formation that’s been bad, 4-2-4… you are going to get absolutely DESTROYED with that’: Paul Scholes critical of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics after Manchester United’s woeful first-half against Atalanta

  • Manchester United conceded two goals in the first half against Atalanta
  • Fred and Scott McTominay played as the two midfielders in a 4-2-4 formation 
  • Paul Scholes said the system leaves United to being ‘absolutely destroyed’   


Paul Scholes has taken aim at the two-man midfield in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s formation, claiming it leaves Manchester United susceptible to being ‘absolutely destroyed’ following their woeful first half against Atalanta.

United found themselves two goals down at half time of their crunch Champions League Group F fixture at Old Trafford, with Fred and Scott McTominay the only players named in the midfield.

Mario Pasalic opened the scoring for the Serie A giants with a close-range finish before Merih Demiral took advantage of some slack set-piece defending to head home a corner.

Former midfielder Paul Scholes

Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Paul Scholes has taken aim at the two-man midfield in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s formation

United midfielder Scott McTominay

United midfielder Fred

Fred (right) and Scott McTominay (left) were the only players named in the United midfield

But speaking to BT Sport at half time, former United midfielder Scholes slammed the set-up deployed by the Norwegian as ‘bad’, and left them incredibly likely for the two players in the centre to be overrun. 

‘It is the formation that has been bad,’ Scholes said.

‘Ole said before the game it was 4-2-4. I don’t care who those two players in the midfield, when you are playing against a good European team, you are going to get absolutely destroyed.

‘Neither wide player is running back, Bruno Fernandes is making the odd effort to get back in and help them, but they will get destroyed. 

‘If Manchester United were playing a really good team, we could be looking at four or five. ‘

That led Atalanta to take a two-goal first-half lead, with Merih Demiral scoring the second

That led Atalanta to take a two-goal first-half lead, with Merih Demiral scoring the second

Scholes’ former United and England team-mate Rio Ferdinand also added his frustration, claiming the defenders had not performed well. 

‘I’m very frustrated and disappointed, but the players have to come out and do something,’ Ferdinand said.

‘Ole’s set them out 4-4-2 for the forwards to go and win it, but the defenders haven’t been good enough.’

United did just that in the second half however, with Marcus Rashford reducing the deficit with a fine finish.

Rio Ferdinand also expressed his disappointment at United's first-half showing at Old Trafford

Rio Ferdinand also expressed his disappointment at United’s first-half showing at Old Trafford

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