In pictures: Young Boys v Manchester United
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under scrutiny following his side’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to FC Young Boys on Tuesday night. The Red Devils went into the game expected to take all three points. But that didn’t happen, with the Premier League leaders instead slumping to a disappointing defeat in Bern.
Manchester United took the lead against Young Boys early on through Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 36-year-old tapped in from close range after a superb pass from Bruno Fernandes, meaning he’s now netted three times from two appearances since returning from Juventus.
Then came the turning point, however.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka received a straight red card and, from that moment on, the game turned.
Moumi Ngamaleu drew the hosts level in the 66th minute, with Theoson Siebatcheu then netting a winner following a poor mistake from Jesse Lingard.
While individual mistakes cost United dear, Solskjaer was also to blame. Express Sport will now take a look at four errors the Norwegian made that cost his side dear on the night.
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Leaving Varane on the bench
While United could have been forgiven for thinking they’d cruise to victory, the decision to bench Raphael Varane backfired.
The France international is a class above all of the Red Devils’ current defenders, Harry Maguire included.
And it was no surprise to see United look so vulnerable with Victor Lindelof in the side instead.
Lindelof is a capable centre-back, of course.
But the Sweden international is no Varane and struggled with the intensity of the contest as the match went on, perhaps due to the fact he’s not started since the victory over Wolves at the end of last month.
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Taking Sancho off instead of Ronaldo
Though United’s decision to hook Ronaldo and throw on Lingard backfired, especially given the latter’s mistake, it still made sense.
After all, the Portugal international was starting to tire and, with the club down to 10 men, they needed legs.
But Solskjaer, really, should have substituted Ronaldo earlier.
While he’s still a deadly finisher, the 36-year-old doesn’t have the energy levels of old. He’s no longer blessed with the same speed, certainly.
So it should have been Ronaldo who came off, instead of Jadon Sancho. Sancho’s pace could have caused the hosts problems on the counter and he’d have been a far quicker threat at the tip of their attack.
Subbing Fred for Martial
United, with minutes to go, decided they’d try and win the game instead of settling for a draw.
And while that showed courage from Solskjaer, that decision-making can be exposed on Champions League nights like this.
Indeed, it was.
Taking off Fred, who was actually the star of the show in the middle of the park as Young Boys threatened throughout, left them without a pitbull to snarl at opposition defenders.
And putting on Anthony Martial, who is a shadow of the player he used to be, showed naivety on Solskjaer and his coaching staff’s behalf.
The final tactical tweak
When United put on Martial, they changed things.
But with Fred no longer on the pitch, this meant Lingard having to drop alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield.
It isn’t his natural position, nowhere near it. And though the England international was used there for just a few minutes, his mistake at the end showed confusion on his part.
Real football isn’t like FIFA. You can’t put players in positions they’re not comfortable playing in.
So, next time, Solskjaer needs to be more savvy.
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