Solskjaer explains call not to turn to Man Utd subs
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained why he did not make any substitutions until the 100th minute in the Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.
The Spanish side beat United 11-10 on penalties with David De Gea’s spot kick saved by his opposite number.
United were well below their best in Gdansk and tired towards the end of the second half as Unai Emery rang the changes for Villarreal while Solskjaer refused to turn to his bench until the 110th minute.
OPINION: If Manchester United are serious then Solskjaer must go
Solskjaer attracted plenty of criticism for not changing things up earlier, with Fred, Daniel James, Juan Mata and Axel Tuanzebe brought on in extra time.
But Solskjaer insists that he opted not to freshen things up earlier because he felt his best options were already on the pitch.
“We felt the players out there – you’ve got Mason and Marcus, match winners in their own right,” the Norwegian said in his post-match press conference.
“Bruno [Fernandes], Edi [Cavani], can create anything, Scott I felt was the best player on the pitch, and Paul [Pogba].
“It’s difficult to make that change, especially when Fred has been injured for a week, but he came on and did well, the boy. We just couldn’t create enough chances to win the game.
“When they’ve got [Pau] Torres and [Raul] Albiol in there on crosses it’s always going to be difficult. We needed to play our way into the box quicker.
“You’ve got players with high quality there. We started with loads of goal scorers, match winners and we hoped that was going to give us the upper hand. We just couldn’t get the first goal.
“Disappointed we conceded with their only shot on target. After we scored it looked like the game was there for us. Scott McTominay was absolutely outstanding out there. For me, the best player on the pitch.”
Solskjaer admitted that he was disappointed, but insisted that defeat would only make his side stronger for next season.
“That disappointment is the worst feeling,” he added. “These are the moments you remember most as a player and as a manager, and there are two ways.
“You can feel sorry for yourself, go on holiday and don’t do anything about it or you can go home, do something about it, come back better, stronger, more hungry, ready from the first minute because we know that we didn’t start this season great.
“We fell too far behind to be challenging for the league, so we need to start really well.”
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