Former Manchester United star Peter Schmeichel has questioned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision-making in the wake of yesterday’s humbling 2-1 defeat to Young Boys.
United’s night unravelled after a promising opening half hour, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card and a slack Jesse Lingard back pass gifting their opponents a famous victory.
While opinions about the club’s latest European meltdown have diverged, Schmeichel himself has placed the bulk of the blame squarely at Solskjaer’s door.
As covered by The Metro, the Dane believes that leaving Raphael Varane and Mason Greenwood out of the starting line-up were just the first in a series of mistakes.
He said, “We can always question team selection, I just think when your next game is Sunday at West Ham, first game in the Champions League – why don’t you play your best team, your best players?”
He continued, “I think when you look at Mason Greenwood, he’s in great form, he’s a young man…and not only does he score, he creates chances for others.
“Varane has just come to the club but I would’ve loved to see those two playing.”
Schmeichel was also unimpressed by Solskjaer’s in-game management, saying, “Then he takes Ronaldo off. We, as fans, want Ronaldo to be on the pitch, regardless of if they’re down to ten men, if he gets the ball, he can make something happen.
“They were hoping…to have that kind of player and he puts somebody (Lingard) on that he…sent out on loan…I just find it strange.”
The former United No 1 also admitted to being bemused about Anthony Martial – a player not exactly known for his work ethic – being introduced to help see out the final stages of a rearguard action.
He said, “Martial doesn’t defend well. He doesn’t work hard…but we’re down to ten men…so why put Martial on?”
Although hindsight is a wonderful thing, Solskjaer’s tactics and substitutions often appear more instinctive than considered and he’s faced justified criticism about this after other high-profile failures.
However, but for two moments of madness that were out of his control, the Reds’ boss had sent out a team that was on course – and good enough – to take all three points in normal circumstances.
He might also have felt compelled to use his much-discussed big squad to keep fringe players sharp and key men refreshed.
There isn’t much point in having a comprehensive pool of talented players if you can’t trust some of them to perform against relative European lightweights.
Even so, his failure to address the lack of midfield composure or out-ball seems to be the latest black mark against his tactical acumen, while some of his substitutions and tweaks ranged between the ineffective to the outright baffling.
Ultimately, it’s easy to be seduced by the desire to scorch earth after a poor showing, so hopefully the weekend’s return to Premier League action will refocus minds and dispel the post-match gloom.