Solskjaer explains hooking Ronaldo with Man Utd result in the balance; offers surprise justification for Wan-Bissaka red
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained his reasoning behind substituting Cristiano Ronaldo with the scores level, and offered a curious justification for Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card.
Man Utd suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to begin their Champions League campaign. The evening began as Red Devils fans would’ve hoped, with Ronaldo latching on to Bruno Fernandes’ sublime pass before prodding home between the goalkeeper’s legs.
However, Young Boys refused to bend to Man Utd’s will and were handed a major lifeline when Wan-Bissaka saw red for a lunge over the ball.
That put Solskjaer’s side on the back foot, and the Swiss side restored parity when Raphael Varane was beaten at the near post by Moumi Ngamaleu.
Young Boys continued to push for a winner as Man Utd appeared content to settle for a draw. But with just seconds remaining and the scores still tied, an errant Jesse Lingard back-pass allowed Theoson Siebatcheu to pounce and notch an unlikely winner.
Speaking to in-house station MUTV (via the Manchester Evening News) after the match, Solskjaer offered his reasoning behind substituting Ronaldo while the game was still in the balance.
“The game had gone 70-odd minutes, they had been running a lot on Saturday and today,” said the Norwegian.
“We wanted Nemanja Matic’s experience to keep hold of the ball and Jesse Lingard’s legs.”
The game undoubtedly swung on Wan-Bissaka’s red card, and Solskjaer offered a surprise justification for the right-back’s dismissal.
Hinting the astroturf pitch caused Wan-Bissaka’s touch to evade him, Solskjaer said of the incident: “That’s a little bit the astroturf.
“Aaron gets a touch that’s too far and he gets the ball but he follows through.
“It’s hard to argue against the referee but then he didn’t go through his ankle, he hit him on the top of his foot.”
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Man Utd captain Harry Maguire also spoke to the press, saying: “That’s football. People make mistakes – we’re not blaming Jesse [Lingard].
“I’m sure everyone on that pitch today has made a mistake. I’m sure Jesse will pick himself up.
“It’s the first game in the group. We’ve got many games to bounce back and we must do. We’ll try and pick up three points in our next game and build momentum from there.”
Solskjaer introduced Varane to the action at half time and switched to a back three. Maguire hailed the decision despite the defeat, saying: We started the second half well.
“I think the changes [switching to a back three] helped us defend crosses a lot better. We couldn’t really control the box with a back four. They didn’t really have any major chances. It’s disappointing to take at the end.”
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