Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has defended manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics in the team’s 2-1 humbling to BSC Young Boys in the Champions League.
Being 1-0 up, the Red Devils eventually lost after a misplaced back pass from Jesse Lingard in the final minutes allowed an opposition player to score the winner.
After going down to ten men, many fans found United’s negative approach baffling and needless.
Ferdinand, however, came to Solskjaer’s aid.
He told BT Sport: “In the 72nd minute, they’re talking about needing a goal. Ole’s not thinking like that.
“As a manager, I understand what he is probably thinking at that time, 1-1, away in Europe, always difficult no matter where you go, in Europe it’s always difficult to go away, on an artificial pitch, we’re down to 10 men, we’ll take a point.
“And that’s what he was thinking. He wasn’t thinking about bringing players on or keeping players on to score goals. It was about seeing the game out.
“And listen, if he sees that game out, no-one is talking about substitutions.’
"He's done what he has been asked to do… now it's D-Day."
"Now you've got to convert that to trophies."@rioferdy5 and @petercrouch break down the social media criticism around Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Man Utd after their defeat vs. Young Boys in the #UCL 🗣️#UCLTONIGHT pic.twitter.com/eAOlScT1tA
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 14, 2021
But when challenged on the fact they ended up losing the game, Ferdinand argued: “It’s a fact it wasn’t based on the team shape or the team performance, it was based on a single person’s error of judgement. That’s the difference.
“If it was a tactical situation, where you go, ‘That’s the reason they’ve lost today because tactically they got that wrong.’
“They didn’t play well today when they had 11 men or ten men, but I wouldn’t say the substitutions were the reasons they didn’t get a draw.”
After going down a man short, United registered 0.00xg ( expected goals return) for the remainder of the match.
Manchester Utd created 0.00(xG) against Young Boys after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card in the 35th minute.
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) September 14, 2021
Fans all over social media were left shocked at the bizarre substitutions and decisions made during the match.
Many made comparisons to how Chelsea game-managed their 1-1 draw at Anfield this season.
Ferdinand, too, went on to say: “Chelsea look very confident; they understand how to navigate their way through difficult situations in matches.
“They went down to 10 men at Anfield and looked very comfortable.
“Man United, on the other hand, looked like a team that were hoping to get a result tonight when they went down to 10 men. And that comes down to experience, that comes down to Chelsea winning something that brings confidence throughout that squad.”
Solskjaer will be looking for a reaction from his players in their next Premier League match against West Ham.