Erik ten Hag told the media after the game that he and his coaching staff have been training Victor Lindelof as a number six, which is the position that a defensive midfielder takes up.
With Scott McTominay out with a minor injury, currently, Manchester United only have Casemiro that can play that defensive midfield position, which means that ten Hag will need to use his creativity and think of different alternatives, which leads us on to the idea of Lindelof playing as a six.
The United manager pointed out in his post-match press conference following the Nottingham Forest second-leg win, in which United won 2-0 at Old Trafford, that the Swede had previously played as a holding midfielder during his Benfica days, and I personally think that Lindelof playing in that position is not a bad shout because whilst he might lack the physicality, he does have the technical ability to play there, thanks to his passing abilities and vision.
The Sweden international came on in the 80th minute to replace Casemiro and with United already 2-0 up and winning 5-0 on aggregate against Nottingham Forest, it gave ten Hag the opportunity to do some experimenting, and speaking to the media after the win, he spoke about Lindelof’s ability to play as a six and he also revealed that he has been training there.
“Lindelof was educated as a six, as a controlling holding midfielder at Benfica, so I know he can do that and we already tried it before in training and maybe in one game,” explained Ten Hag. “But also, there I also want my centre-halves playing sometimes in midfield positions so that we create different dynamics.
“So it’s just to construct more dynamic in the team” [via Man United].
According to the Transfermarkt site, the Sweden captain has played in the defensive midfield role 23 times in his career and in the 2013/14 season, he was deployed as a six on 16 occasions, [Transfermarkt] which shows that he is not a complete novice in that position.
I think that given that Lindelof has played as a number six on several occasions, it allows ten Hag the opportunity to give Casemiro a rest as United cannot risk the Brazilian suffering an injury because he is an extremely important player for United as we saw at the Emirates when United missed his presence and authority both in and out of possession and also because Donny van de Beek, Scott McTomiany and Christian Eriksen are all on the sidelines.
United are next in action against Crystal Palace tomorrow at Old Trafford and the game kicks off at 3pm UK time.