Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed the contents of the note he passed Juan Mata during the first half of Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Wolves. Whatever was said definitely paid off as Mata scored United’s winner in the 67th minute of the FA Cup third-round replay to set up a clash against either Watford or Tranmere Rovers.
Unlike the first leg, United dominated possession and created better chances but were left frustrated as Nuno Espirito Santo’s men held firm and looked relatively comfortable in the minutes leading up to the half-time.
Solskjaer acknowledged that United had lost their shape and structure and passed on a message to Mata as he felt his players ‘were playing more off the cuff than they should be’ in a crucial period before the break.
The Norwegian also instructed Daniel James to switch wings – just as Wolves had done with their danger man Adama Traore towards the end of the first half – and the tactical change had an immediate impact.
When asked about the note he passed on to Mata, Solskjaer said in his post-match press conference, “It was just a spell there that we struggled a little bit and players were playing more off the cuff than they should be doing and when they swapped Traore over we swapped Dan over for a little while and it worked.
“Dan was straight through on goal two seconds after and it’s not often you create that many clear opportunities that we did with Dan. There were some great runs in behind from him and he needs to learn that composure from Juan. An absolute beauty of a goal. It was great timing on his run.”