Bruno Fernandes did not look happy to be substituted in the closing stages of Manchester United’s goalless draw with Liverpool and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained his decision.
The Portuguese midfielder had a poor game at Anfield – his pass completion rate was barely above 60% – and was taken off (for Mason Greenwood) with minutes left on the clock as Solskjaer sensed that Paul Pogba would have more joy through the middle.
“It was a tactical decision,” Solskjaer said. “Bruno has been running his socks off every single game since he came. He has been here a year and running more or less every game.
“Towards the end, we felt Paul’s physical presence in there might be a chance for us and Mason, when he gets a chance, can score in the blink of a second. So it was a bit of a throw of the dice to put Mason on even though he had to defend against Robertson.”
Solksjaer admits they left Anfield disappointed not to have taken all three points and ended Liverpool’s long, unbeaten league run which was extended to 68 matches with the draw.
Solksjaer felt they did not do enough to threaten their opponents’ makeshift centre-back pairing of midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
“They are a good side and they have some injury problems but we didn’t pounce on that,” he said.
“We were a bit disappointed in the performance, not just the result.
“We didn’t do well enough to cause them problems in the first half but we defended well and they didn’t create too many chances.
“We know we have players who can win you a game in the blink of a second and Bruno and Paul almost did.
“I think everyone was a bit disappointed with the way we started the game but that is a good feeling to have that we were disappointed in the performance.”