Jose Mourinho has suggested that the attributes Victor Lindelof brings to Manchester United will allow him to play with three at the back.
The Portuguese has favoured a four-man defensive unit throughout his distinguished coaching career, with tactical tweaks made in the middle and attacking thirds of the field.
He could, however, be about to adopt a different mindset at Old Trafford, or at least give himself the option to mix things up when required.
Chelsea swept to the Premier League title in 2016-17 playing 3-4-3, leading many other sides to follow suit, and Mourinho has hinted that the signing of Sweden international Lindelof could see him experiment with his formation at times.
He told MUTV after United’s 2-1 friendly victory over Real Salt Lake on Monday: "It's the difference between playing with three in the back or four in the back.
“When you play with three, you project with the wingers and you need the central defenders to drive and to come with the ball.
“When you play with four in the back, if you project with the right-back and the left-back, you only have two defenders and they have to share [the workload] and keep their position more.
“His [Lindelof’s] quality of passing is always very good, he's technically very good but obviously with three in the back, he has more freedom to attack spaces in midfield."
Lindelof played the first half for United against MLS outfit Real Salt Lake, operating in a centre-half berth alongside Phil Jones.
He then made way at the break, with Mourinho fielding an entirely different XI for the second 45 minutes.
Goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and £75 million signing Romelu Lukaku saw United, who were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Antonio Valencia, hit back from going a goal down to pick up another pre-season victory.