Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had to deal with the music after a number of his tactical decisions backfired for Manchester United in their Champions League opener, namely the withdrawal of Cristiano Ronaldo.
A ten-man United drew 1-1 with Swiss minnows Young Boys, thanks to another goal from their returning hero, when the manager decided to take Ronaldo off the pitch in 72 minutes – baffling fans and apparently CR7 as well. himself.
It was clear that the Portuguese superstar wasn’t thrilled to see his number go up on the sidelines, but it may be far too early to complain about his second spell, so he accepted the coach’s call and left the field.
But it ultimately turned out to be a bad call from Solskjaer, with substitute Jesse Lingard making a costly mistake that saw Young Boys score a goal in stoppage time and seal a famous 2-1 win for the team. Switzerland, and an embarrassing defeat for the Premier League. giants.
The humiliating defeat was called a “class catastrophe” by Solskjaer, leading to an inevitable discussion about his future in charge at Old Trafford.
Ahead of the game, Solskjaer had proclaimed that his goal this season was to win the Champions League, but it seemed like a laughable suggestion following a dismal display which saw United land just two shots on target against a team that was due to qualify. to switch to the group stage.
The call to bring out Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, easily his top scorer and chief creator, also once again highlighted Solskjaer’s decision-making in the crucial moments, with Lingard’s pass back to help the late winner of the Young Boys adding only to his embarrassment.
Indeed, Fernandes provided the assist for Ronaldo’s goal in the 13th minute with a perfect through-pass, as CR7 scored becoming the all-time Champions League holder in his 177th appearance with a strike. .
It was clear that after the game Solskjaer would face questions from the press about the call to remove Ronaldo, with fans surely wanting to know the answer.
But the Norwegian backed up and defended the call, insisting that Ronaldo’s playing time should be managed sensitively, and also explaining that the Young Boys’ astro turf pitch was a factor as well.
“The match lasted 70 odd minutes,” said Solskjaer. “They had run a lot on Saturday and today the astro turf is also taking its toll.
“We wanted Nemanja’s experience to keep the ball and Jesse’s legs.
“We need to take care of Cristiano and it was a good time to kidnap him.”
United’s task was made more difficult by the reckless expulsion of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who let his side play with ten men for an hour.
Still, the Premier League giants easily had enough quality to win, and Solskjaer knows it was a ‘missed opportunity’, with the manager now losing seven of his 11 Champions League games in charge.
“It looked like it would be a well-deserved point in a tough game,” said the boss. “The eviction obviously had an impact.
“We have to win our home games now. It’s a missed opportunity tonight, of course, but we still have five games to get the points we need.
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