Manchester Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the UCL match against Young Boys has replaced Portuguese legend, Ronaldo and he’s explained why.
With the game without a winner yet, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced the Portuguese star with Nemanja Matic and Fernandes with Jesse Lingard in the 72nd minute. Fernandes had assisted Ronaldo’s opener in the first half.
It was a decision that puzzled Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who said on Soccer Special:
“Young Boys were petrified of Ronaldo but Lingard plays how I used to play – he will come back and get the ball, and that’s not helping because you are down to 10 men already.
“You want the ball going the other way because if the ball goes the other way then your opponents can squeeze the game. That’s all Young Boys did: they pushed up to the halfway line because there was no threat behind.
“Without that threat, you aren’t going to win too many football matches. If you are going to bring Ronaldo off, bring Mason Greenwood on because he has the pace.”
When asked about the changes in his post-match press conference, Solskjaer explained:
“The game had gone 70 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.”
Ultimately, the game was changed when Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off in the 35th minute after a clumsy challenge on Christopher Martins, with Lingard’s poor pass leading to Jordan Pefok’s winner with the final kick of the game.
Of the red card, Solskjaer said: “I can understand why he gives it because Aaron take 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 was 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.”