Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at Gary Neville's criticism and stood firm on his hotly-debated team selection.

Neville described the Red Devils as an "odd bunch" who "don't play well enough as a team" to win the Premier League title in his analysis of Solskjaer's side's 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday.

For the match at Old Trafford, the United boss opted to employ midfield duo Scott McTominay and Fred, a pairing often criticised for a lack of creativity and more conservative approach - yet saw his men fall to a third defeat in four games.

Solskjaer however believes that the so-called 'McFred' duo have largely served his side well and the Norwegian believes they are "very instrumental together."

Solskjaer has defended his team selection

"Gary always had a lot to say, even when I was sat next to him in the dressing-room," Solskjaer replied.

"The pressure is a privilege. To work in this environment, you have to embrace that pressure. If he says we have to win a trophy after the backing I've had then, yes, I've been backed.

"The backing I have got says to me we are sticking to a plan, but we're in a results business. Expectations have improved with our signings.

"We are here to win, don't think twice about that. Gary knows that. We have an obligation to win here in a certain style. Sometimes that's risky and you lose one or two.

"We changed the team in the Carabao Cup but we'll get there and hopefully we'll get there in April or May and be challenging for the trophies we want to see back here.

"Of course you are looking at the style of play and patterns. We need to play quickly. Gary knows what the DNA is at the club and what we're trying to do.

Should Solskjaer be so trusting in McTominay and Fred or be more adventurous with his midfield? Give us your verdict here .

"My focus has been winning this game and getting back on track, as we didn't start well enough in the group stage. Then we focus on the Premier League again, from Thursday morning, a position where we are still up there.

"We started okay in the league and in the Champions League we know we have to do better. I still believe we can improve with the players we have and with our coaches."

On 'McFred', Solskjaer explained his reasoning behind often trusting the pair, citing their statistical impact on games.

"First of all the stats for them two together we have had many good results," he stated. "The way we broke-up play against Villa I think they are very instrumental together. The energy and desire. I really like to have the two of them. I can trust them to give us what they've got.

"Fans will always have opinions, it is easy to say who should be playing."

Manchester United legend Gary Neville

During Sky Sports' Gary Neville podcast on Sunday, Solskjaer's ex-teammate admitted: "I said it even when they were winning, even when Ronaldo scored, they don’t play well enough as a team to win this league in my view.

"They’ve got to come together as a team and start to define a style of play. Then you start to get results when you don’t play well. The way they are at the moment, they’ll always have days like Saturday against Villa."

Neville went on to say: "They’ll have patches of four or five games where they only win two, but then they’ll go and win 15 on the bounce and be unbeaten away from home for a while. That’s the type of team they are. I have called them the odd bunch."

"I still look at them and think of them as a team who win games in moments. I look at Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City, they are teams. They put team performances in. That’s not to say United never do, but Ole now has to get United into a team."

United will be without the suspended Aaron Wan-Bissaka on Wednesday night, while Luke Shaw could feature.

Harry Maguire however is set to miss the next "few weeks" according to Solskjaer.

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