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Solskjaer blind to Fred alert to leave Man Utd and PSG on Champions League knife-edge

Solskjaer blind to Fred alert to leave Man Utd and PSG on Champions League knife-edge
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Solskjaer blind to Fred alert to leave Man Utd and PSG on Champions League knife-edge

Solskjaer blind to Fred alert to go away Man Utd and PSG on Champions League knife-edge

If Manchester United don’t qualify for the Champions League final 16, they are going to level to 2 profound aberrations in an in any other case constructive group stage. 

Firstly, the 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir, when Demba Ba was allowed to attain a aim after receiving the ball in his personal half and not using a United participant between him and Dean Henderson’s aim, all from United’s personal nook. 

Secondly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unfathomable choice to not substitute Fred in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain. 

No one watching might fairly work out why Fred was not despatched off when he pushed his head into Leandro Paredes’. The PSG man’s response was embarrassing, however Fred’s offence was clear to everybody, together with the VAR officers. But referee Daniele Orsato noticed match solely to ebook him. 

Maybe Orsato had been replaying the scene in his thoughts when, lower than a minute after Marquinhos had put PSG 2-1 up within the second half, he confirmed Fred a second yellow card for a problem on Ander Herrera. Fred received a transparent foot to the ball first, however the choice was not modified, leaving the United man to trudge disconsolately down the touchline.

The consensus appeared to be that Fred can be taken off at half-time. He might need gained possession a team-high eight occasions in his interval on the pitch, however United wanted solely some extent right here and had Scott McTominay to supply the combative midfield presence. 

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There was nothing important about Fred’s place within the facet, no pivotal sport plan that might not have been carried out by Donny van de Beek, or Paul Pogba, or Nemanja Matic. But out he got here for the second half: emboldened, decided, disastrous. 

This was one other match between United and PSG the place VAR proved crucial to the outcome by implementing questionable choices, very similar to that well-known 3-1 win for the Crimson Devils in Paris two seasons in the past, but in addition by the important thing choices at key moments from the lads in cost. 

Solskjaer’s facet, having pulled degree by way of Marcus Rashford’s deflected shot after Neymar’s opener, had been tearing into the guests on the break. Anthony Martial missed two wonderful possibilities for 2-1, one in every of which got here after Edinson Cavani’s beautiful chip hit the crossbar. 

Thomas Tuchel noticed the hazard and acted. Moise Kean and Paredes went off for Herrera and Mitchel Bakker, including cowl to PSG’s left flank and shutting down the United menace. The brand new again three allowed Marquinhos to enterprise ahead with extra abandon for set-pieces and it was the captain’s close-range end from a half-cleared nook that put them in entrance. Neymar made it 3-1 in added time after Fred’s purple had killed United’s spirit.

Within the reverse dug-out, Solskjaer was passive. The system and personnel didn’t change to fight PSG’s tactical tweak, and so they had been all the way down to 10 males earlier than Pogba, Van de Beek, Mason Greenwood and Odion Ighalo had been summoned from the bench. The second yellow was harsh, however Fred had had it coming. The sport as a complete was like these seconds in Istanbul on matchday three, when assistant Mike Phelan pointed and screamed at Ba to no avail: United and Solskjaer noticed the menace and did nothing to cease it. 

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“Fred shouldn’t put his head in the direction of him,” Solskjaer later advised BT Sport. “I don’t suppose he touched him, however he shouldn’t try this, so he’s a bit fortunate, it’s both nothing or a purple card. I believed possibly he was a bit fortunate to remain on.  

“Sure [I thought about taking him off]. However Fred performed rather well. We spoke about staying calm, staying in your toes and the second yellow card is nowhere close to a foul. Ander is aware of that as properly, he undoubtedly is aware of.”  

Herrera additionally knew Fred was one misstep from a lonely stroll down the tunnel. So did Solskjaer. And solely one in every of them acted.   

So, we go to a showdown on matchday six, United, PSG and Leipzig all on 9 factors and all capable of qualify. A degree will nonetheless be sufficient for the Crimson Devils however there is no such thing as a room for error towards a Leipzig facet who should win. PSG, for all of the stress on their coach and star performers, at the moment are one win away from topping the group. 

United have performed some glorious soccer on this competitors and solely three different groups have scored greater than their 13 targets. They’ve crushed all three sides on this ‘group of dying’, convincingly too. And but, they head into subsequent week with their European destiny within the stability, when a easy masking defender from a nook and a half-time substitution might have modified all of it.


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