Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended switching formation halfway through his team’s Champions League defeat to Young Boys, as well as his decision to take off both Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes with the game in the balance.
United went ahead early in Switzerland when Ronaldo scored his third goal in only his second game since his return to the club. But Young Boys piled on the pressure after Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off and scored twice in the second half, including a stoppage time winner.
“You saw the signs towards the end of the first half that they were going switch it and get crosses in with the wing-back,” Solskjaer said of his switch to a back three at half-time, via ManUtd.com.
“I thought we coped really well. We were a bit lazy going out and blocking the cross for the first goal, a bit unlucky because it then gets deflected off Luke, and then the last goal, that’s just unfortunate.”
Once Young Boys had equalised, Solskjaer appeared to be keen on settling for a draw when he replaced Ronaldo and Fernandes with Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic respectively.
“The game had gone 70-odd minutes, [Ronaldo and Fernandes] 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,” the United boss is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“Ronaldo is exceptional…but we have to look after him as well and it felt like the right moment to take him off.”
Solskjaer was also keen to defend Lingard, who lax pass directly gave Young Boys their winner.
“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,” the United boss said.
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