The Chalkboard: Why Solskjaer should pick Jesse Lingard over Juan Mata against Spurs

Interim Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces the first great test of his time in the Old Trafford hot seat this weekend when his side travel to Wembley Stadium to take on in-form Tottenham Hotspur.

On the chalkboard

The Norwegian coach has made a fine start to life in charge of the Red Devils, winning all of his first five matches in the job, including securing safe passage to the next round of the FA Cup.

However, he has not yet faced a side of Spurs’ quality, and the north London outfit will come into this clash full of confidence. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won seven of their last eight games in all competitions.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has caused a stir in Norway! Watch the video above to find out what we’re talking about…

Spurs will likely try and take the game to United, so Solskjaer will have to prepare his side to be ready for this. United will have to withstand periods of intense pressure being exerted upon them, whilst counter-attack opportunities will likely offer them their most viable route to goal.

Solskjaer must get his team selection right to ensure that his starting XI are able to successfully carry out his game plan. With that in mind, Jesse Lingard ought to be handed the right-wing berth in the United line up, ahead of the likes of Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez.

A man for the occasion 

The 22-cap England international has been one of United’s more reliable performers this season and his attributes make him well suited to the task his side face in overcoming Tottenham. The 26-year-old has the pace and energy – that Mata lacks – to effectively and relentlessly harass and press the Spurs back line.

Lingard is also more defensively diligent than Sanchez. When it comes to tracking back to challenge the likes of Dele Alli and Heung-min Son, Solskjaer ought to invest his faith in Lingard over the Chilean.