Manchester United suffered a huge blow in their quest to win a trophy this season as they lost 3-1 at the hands of Leicester City, with a brace from Kelechi Iheanacho and a strike from Youri Tielemans good enough to bring the Red Devils’ 28-game unbeaten domestic away run to an end. Mason Greenwood scored the goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
One of the major talking points following the game has been the team selection on the day. Solskjaer decided to drop the club’s talisman, Bruno Fernandes, from the starting XI.
Now, we know that he has played a lot of football over the course of the season and needs a rest. But was a FA Cup quarter-final against one of the best teams in England right now, the right occasion to give him a rest.
As reported by Manchester Evening News, Solskjaer explained his decision:
"“Every team selection has reasons behind it and Bruno has played a lot of football. Thursday night he broke all his records physically, statistically. And the boy is not inhuman, he is also a human being.“He’s played a game every three or four days and it was a chance to start both Donny and Paul, but the accumulation of games maybe caught up with us. Bruno wants to play and sometimes you make decisions for the benefit of the team.”"
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It is understandable that Solskjaer would want to rest Fernandes. And the recent run of fixtures is a huge reason why the Portuguese playmaker has not had a lot of rest over the past few weeks.
The Red Devils have faced AC Milan twice, Manchester City and West Ham United in their past four games. All of them very important matches, with huge implications on the club’s season.
With Paul Pogba back in the team, perhaps the manager felt that he could afford to allow Fernandes some rest. Ultimately, it was not Manchester United’s day and they were handed a defeat by a very good team in the form of Leicester City. But Solskjaer should not be blamed for his decision.
That is just football and we have to focus on the future now. We head towards the international break from here before a Premier League game against Brighton & Hove Albion in early April. The Europa League also becomes even more important now in their quest to lift a trophy this season.