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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains why he subbed off Bruno Fernandes in Manchester United’s draw with Liverpool


The midfielder had a poor game at Anfield by his usual high standards (Picture: Getty Images)

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says it was a ‘tactical decision’ to withdraw Bruno Fernandes late on in the Red Devils’ goalless draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

The usually influential Portuguese had an off game by his usual standards, misplacing 58% of his passes at Anfield – the lowest success rate of any player who started the match on either team.

He was withdrawn in the 89th minute as United chased an equaliser, replaced by Mason Greenwood, and did not seem best pleased about the decision.

Fernandes got into an argument with Gini Wijnaldum before his substitution (Picture: Getty)

With Scott McTominay down receiving treatment, Fernandes tried to delay his exit – with Greenwood’s introduction being United’s third and final sub – and then ranted in the direction of the touchline as he eventually came off.

Fernandes seemed annoyed with suggestions he was time-wasting, and cut a glum figure on the bench afterwards, though Solskjaer was adamant the only reason for the change was to try and find a winner, not run down the clock.

Asked about the substitution, Solskjaer said at his post-match press conference: ‘It was a tactical decision.

‘Bruno has obviously been running his socks off for us every single game since he’s come. He’s been here and been running more or less every game.

‘So towards the end we felt Paul [Pogba]’s physical presence in there might be a chance for us. And Mason, when he gets a chance he can score in the blink of a second.

‘So it was a bit of a throw of the dice to get Mason on even though he had to defend against [Andy] Robertson.’

Fernandes looked disappointed to be taken off with United trying to get a winner (Picture: Getty)

While Fernandes may have had an off night at Anfield, left-back Luke Shaw gave an excellent performance and Solskjaer was delighted with the defender.

Asked whether Alex Telles’ arrival has spurred Shaw on, Solskjaer said: ‘Luke has improved immensely. I thought today he showed his strength, quality, composure on the ball. Delighted with his performance definitely.’


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