Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his team selection as Manchester United were dumped out of the FA Cup by Leicester.
The United manager made five changes to the side that beat AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday night, bringing in Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial to replace Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Daniel James and Marcus Rashford.
With United struggling and the game tightly poised at 2-1 to the hosts, Solskjaer called on the cavalry bringing on Fernandes, Shaw, Edinson Cavani and McTominay.
While it was a poor display from his starting XI Solskjaer insists he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Asked if the changes affected the performance, he told the BBC: “I would’ve done the same again, the changes were necessary to do. We knew Paul [Pogba] wouldn’t last more than an hour and I don’t think I would do anything differently. What goes on behind the scenes isn’t always known.”
When pushed further on Pogba and van de Beek in his post-match press conference, he added: “I would have started the same team again, we felt they had more than 45 minutes in them, they’re important players for us, that’s why we started.”
The Portugal international has been key to United’s progress and has played 44 of their games in all competitions this season, so it was surprising to see him named amongst the substitutes for one of their biggest games of the season.
Asked why Fernandes didn’t start, Solskjaer replied: “Every team selection has reasons behind it and Bruno has played a lot of football, on Thursday night he broke all his records physically, statistically and the boy is not inhuman.
“He has played a game every three or four days and it was a chance to start both Donny and Paul, but the accumulation of games maybe caught up with us. Bruno wants to play and sometimes you make decisions for the benefit of the team.”
Solskjaer pointed towards an accumulation of games as the reason behind his side’s poor display.
He said: “You are always disappointed especially when it’s the end of the line in a cup run. We just couldn’t find a normal spark and brightness and energy. Maybe all the games have caught up with us. Thursday night was a big big night for us and today we didn’t have that zip that we needed to create chances.”
Source : goal.com