Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained why he substituted Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes that led to Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Young Boys in their Champions League meeting Tuesday.
With Manchester United 1-0 up and a man down, Solskjaer took off the Portuguese duo in the 72nd minute and replaced them with Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard.
Lingard, who played for West Ham in the second half of the last season, accidentally set up Jordan Pefok for Young Boys’ winner in the final minutes of the match in Bern.
“The game had gone 70-odd minutes. They’ve both been running a lot Saturday and today. The astroturf takes its toll. We wanted Nemanja’s experience and Jesse’s legs,” Solskjaer was quoted by Goal, as saying in a post-match interview.
Earlier, Ronaldo, who was making his first Champions League appearance for Manchester United since 2009, opened the scoring in the game with his 13th-minute strike.
The Manchester United boss also backed Lingard to bounce back following his error that handed Solskjaer his seventh loss in as many as 11 Champions League matches in charge.
“That happens in a game. That’s football. Up and downs. You’ve got big moments, you’ve got moments that go for you and against you. He’ll handle that one, and we’ll handle it,” Solskjaer told Manchester United’s media after the disappointing loss in Bern on Tuesday.
Even though the Red Devils started off in the Champions League last season, Solskjaer’s side was demoted to second-tier European competition, Europa League, in the middle of the season. Manchester United made it to the final but lost to Villarreal in the end.
“We need 12 points to go through. You need to win your home games, win one away from home and go through. A missed opportunity tonight, of course, but then again last year we won our first two games against PSG and Red Bull [Leipzig] and everyone thought we were through. So we have five games to get the 10 or 12 points,” added Solskjaer in the same interview with the club media.
Meanwhile, with 10 points, Manchester United are currently at the top of the 2021-22 Premier League table. The Old Trafford side will head to London next to face off West Ham in the league on Sunday.