Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has clarified why he substituted Bruno Fernandes during his side’s goalless draw with Liverpool at Anfield which left the midfielder seething.
Both teams were looking for a winner with just one minute left on the clock when the fourth official’s board surprisingly showed Fernandes’ number.
The 26-year-old initially refused to go off the pitch with Liverpool star Gini Wijnaldum trying to hurry him up.
Fernandes vented his frustration at Solskjaer as he left the pitch before sulking in his chair.
Solskjaer has explained why he took off such a key player with the game still in the balance.
“It was a tactical decision, Bruno has been running his socks off every single game,” Solskjaer said.
“Towards the end we thought Paul’s physical presence might be a chance and Mason can score in a blink of a second. It was a bit of a throw of the dice.”
The draw leaves United three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
But Solskjaer was not happy with the performances of some of his key men.
“It’s only a good result if we win the next game,” he said.
“Fair play to them – with two central midfielders at the back and to defend as well as they did shows their quality.”
United skipper Harry Maguire said: “We wanted to win. You could see our intent in the second half, we wanted three points. I haven’t been in the dressing room but I’m sure we’ll feel a bit disappointed that we haven’t come away with the three points. It’s a tough place to come and we’ll move on now and try to get a result next week.
“You can see our performance compared to last year when we weren’t brave at all. We were a bit timid and we didn’t play on the front foot.
“I felt in the second-half we really had the intensity to go on and try and win the game. It shows how far we’ve come, we’re not getting carried away and there’s a lot of improvement we need to do as well. We’ll work hard, we’ll get on the training pitch and try and get the three points next game.”