Samuel Luckhurst 06:00, 10 JAN 2019 Sport opinion Pogba is expected to return against Tottenham but Lukaku might be back on the bench Get Manchester United It was a puffed-up question that elicited an inevitable response from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Would he consider starting Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez at Wembley?
"Everyone's considered and it's down to what tactics we decide," Solskjaer replied after the ropy Reading win. "Who does well, who's fit when they come to Sunday and they are now getting the fitness work in.
"I know they're quality players. Rom's scored three in three now, two as a sub and today as a starter. It was a fantastic goal constructed by the two of them."
Solskjaer needs to butter up players who felt scorned by his predecessor and goals are flowing like ketchup for Lukaku. Solskjaer was such a clinical finisher he lived by the mantra 'There is no such thing as a great save, just a bad finish' and Lukaku has, for now, stopped finishing badly.
It might not be enough to earn a reprieve at Tottenham, where Solskjaer could conceivably field the same XI he began his reign with at Cardiff; De Gea, Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Martial and Rashford. Rashford or Lukaku is no contest, despite the latter's goalscoring return, and Martial or Sanchez has not been debatable since September.
Read More Mauricio Pochettino has encouraged United with what he said this week Right-back is the one questionable area yet Diogo Dalot and Antonio Valencia have failed to vindicate their recalls under Solskjaer and Young is maybe the most suitable choice.
Solskjaer's post-match rhetoric at the weekend had a touch of his mentor's mischievousness. Sir Alex Ferguson was talking Solskjaer's former teammate Louis Saha up weeks before he offloaded him to Everton in 2008 and often inflated a player's ego during a tete-a-tete only to deflate them by providing the dreaded news: They were dropped.
Mourinho was transparent with his injury and team news to the point he ribbed this correspondent about certain team leaks. Solskjaer, you already sense, is as guarded as Ferguson, who banned two journalists in 2012 for correctly reporting Rio Ferdinand would be unavailable for the season opener at Everton.
Manchester United latest news LIVE: Transfer news and Koulibaly updates GOSSIP: Players 'want Solskjaer as permanent manager' MANAGER: Pochettino reveals future plans TRANSFERS: Bilbao interested in re-signing Herrera OPINION: Nine undroppables under Solskjaer DUBAI: Pictures from United's training camp An incandescent Phil Neville also accosted journalists in the Villa Park mixed zone five years ago, demanding to know how David Moyes's XIs were emerging hours before kick-off. The leaks have stopped under Solskjaer but there is a welcome air of predictability about what United's team could be on Sunday.
The mindset has shifted from what Tottenham can do to United to what United can do to Tottenham. If Mourinho were still in his position, the preview pieces would be about how United might stymie Spurs or tweak their formation, having switched to a back three for the reverse fixture in August. Anything but a 4-3-3 set-up this weekend would be a jolt.
Read More United risk Toby Alderweireld transfer embarrassment It is partly enforced through Eric Bailly's suspension, Chris Smalling's injury and the unconvincing synergy Lukaku, Sanchez, Fred and Juan Mata have had with teammates. Interchanging is essential against Spurs and the lumbering Lukaku and mercurial Mata would not enhance a triumvirate at the expense of Martial, Lingard or Rashford.
Ander Herrera's predilection for a more attack-minded approach is offset by the defensive instincts he learnt under Mourinho and they will be needed against a team who have scored 23 goals in their last six fixtures. With Tottenham tallying fives, sixes and sevens, Solskjaer is wary of them.
Read More How Spurs have changed United's transfer strategy "There will be loads of things we need to look at both as individuals," Solskjaer explained. "You’ve got Kane, one of the best strikers in the world, Eriksen, one of the best playmakers, you’ve got Son, Alli.
"And we have to look at the team unit and how we play against them." Solskjaer is in danger of reneging on his pledge that 'it's not about the opposition and 'it's about our players knowing what they can do'. Spurs are an exception, though.
So not everyone can be considered.
Possible United squad vs Tottenham:
XI: De Gea, Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Martial, Rashford
Substitutes: Romero, Darmian, Dalot, Fellaini, Mata, Sanchez, Lukaku