Solskjaer’s United travelled to north London knowing nothing other than a victory would do after Sunday’s humiliating 5-0 defeat against their arch-rivals at Old Trafford, and his players rose emphatically to the challenge.
The Norwegian accommodated the returning Raphael Varane by switching to a 3-4-3 formation at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and started Cristiano Ronaldo alongside Edinson Cavani in attack, tactical selections which stifled Spurs and ultimately won United the game.
Ronaldo volleyed United into a first-half lead and set up Cavani for a second midway through the second half before substitute Marcus Rashford put the seal on a crucial 3-0 victory during which Spurs failed to register a shot on target.
Speaking after the game, the United boss revealed the decision to switch systems was borne out of a team meeting in the immediate aftermath of the defeat to Liverpool and outlined exactly where it worked
“The performance was really good from the start, it was really good from Tuesday morning, when we worked on something that we felt and hoped and thought was going to work, and it did,” Solskjaer said.
“Every man to a tee did their jobs and we kept a clean sheet and kept the ball away from David [de Gea], he didn’t have a save to make.
“There is many things behind the tactics we used. One was solidity, we managed to get Raphael [Varane] slap bang in the middle of the back four because we needed a clean sheet.
“We needed to control the game with the ball and we did. We got Edinson and Cristiano to play together as a front two, and we got width from the wing-backs.
“If you change to a back three and you don’t get a result you are going to be scrutinised, but we felt it worked and the coaches have done a very good job to put that in place.”