Manchester United’s right-wing problems are well documented and unfortunately it doesn’t seem as though it will go anywhere anytime soon so it is a topic worth discussing once more.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer technically purchased two wingers to solve that issue but it seems both were more for the future, in reference to Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo.
The former is finding his feet in the U23 level while the latter doesn’t team up with the squad until January and even then there have been requests for expectations to be lowered.
With that in mind, Juan Mata and Mason Greenwood seem to be Solskjaer’s options for the near future and given how neither are natural wingers, how can he get the most out of them?
There are plenty of examples of modern teams not playing with natural players on the flanks and still succeeding so why doesn’t it seem to work for United?
They only need to look to their neighbours to see how the likes of Bernardo Silva, for example, has no issue playing on the wings when needed.
The main reason the Red Devils are lopsided and predictable in their attacking is because everything is forced down their left flank, so much so the right flank moves to the left to try to get involved in the play.
This is precisely why Mata and Greenwood struggle positionally- because they don’t hold their width initially before cutting inside as they wish.
The latter can be excused because he needs it coached into him and it’s not a position he’s played in before but the former became a rather successful right-winger under Louis van Gaal.
Back then Mata was told to keep the width as much as possible before playmaking like he naturally did and it bore him great results, with the brace vs Liverpool at Anfield the peak of it all.
If Solskjaer has to make do with his current options on the right-wing then it’ll go some way if he can coach them better and ensure, at least in the buildup play, his wingers do what wingers are meant to do.
It’s a simple tweak but one that makes a massive difference as it means play is otherwise congested into the middle or left flank, United play narrow and poor Aaron Wan-Bissaka is left isolated at right-back, unable to move forward effectively.
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