The manager of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has defended his decision to substitute Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes during the Champions League game between the club and Young Boys on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
Manchester United flew to Switzerland to play against lowly rated Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League Group F game. To the dismay of many, the Swiss club defeated Manchester United 2-1.
Before things became that bad for the visitors, the club’s returnee, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 13th-minute goal to give Manchester United an early lead.
The game changed in the 35th minute when Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka got a red card due to a poor tackle.
Despite playing with a man down, Manchester United managed to drag the lead into the second half. In the 66th minute, Young Boys’ Moumi Ngamaleu equalized.
A few minutes later, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær decided to substitute Bruno Fernandes with Nemanja Matic and took out Cristiano Ronaldo for Jesse Lingard.
The 72nd-minute double substitutions did not go down well for Manchester United as he could not yield the desired result. United continued to struggle throughout the game until in the additional 5th minute when Young Boys got the winning goal, thanks to Lingard’s poorly timed back pass.
Young Boys’ Theoson Siebatcheu scored with the last kick of the game and gave the home fans a reason to celebrate.
The victory has placed Young Boys at the top of the UEFA Champions League Group F table. While Manchester United are sitting at the bottom of the table.
During the post-match press conference, Solskjær was forced to explain why he took out the biggest threats in the game, Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernandes. In his explanation, the Norwegian tactician said: “The game had gone 70-odd minutes, they had been running a lot, both on Saturday and today.
“The astroturf takes its toll as well and we wanted Nemanja’s experience to keep hold of the ball and Jesse’s legs.
“Ronaldo is exceptional… But we have to look after him as well and it felt like the right moment to take him off.”
On Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card, Solskjær added: “I can understand why he gives it because Aaron takes a touch that goes too far. It’s never a dangerous tackle because it hits him on the front of his foot.
“We’ve seen sometimes – a bit like Harvey Elliott [at Liverpool] – bad injuries and there were never reckless or malicious. But probably a little bit inexperienced to go through without having the ball… But it makes it difficult after that with 10 men.
“That’s football for you at the highest level. A lack of concentration, make a mistake and you get punished. We did that last year in Europe, we conceded two very sloppy counter-attacks against [Istanbul] Basaksehir and we lost that game.
“Today, the last seconds, Jesse wants to play it safe and misplaces a pass and we concede a goal. It happens in football. Harry Hindsight is a very good player so if Jesse could have that chance again, he’ll turn a boot it the other way. But we’ll learn from it.
“We know we’ve given ourselves a more difficult task than we did last year, but everyone thought we were through after two games last year. You need 10, maybe 12 points, win all your home games and maybe one away from home.
“We’ve lost an opportunity to get three points, but we’ve got two home games next and we’ll focus on those two.”
Manchester United’s next Champions League match will come up on September 29, 2021, against Spanish side Villarreal. The match is scheduled to kick off at 20:00 at Old Trafford.