Manchester United

Solskjaer's Fred blunder as baffling as it was amateurish

The Manchester United boss was seemingly the only person who could not see that Fred was heading for a red card.

11:55pm on Wednesday 2nd December 2020
David Lynch

Who could've seen that red card coming? Well, everyone apart from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer it seems.

With 23 minutes of his side's Old Trafford meeting with Paris Saint-Germain gone this evening, the Norwegian received the sort of slice of fortune that you simply have to capitalise on at this level of the game.

Daniele Orsato must be the only referee in world football capable of watching Fred's headbutt on Leandro Paredes back in slow motion and adjudging it to be worthy only of a yellow card.

And yet that is exactly what the Italian did, allowing Manchester United's No.17 to get away with a moment of madness borne out of a frustrating start to the game for the hosts.

It was at this point that a better manager would immediately see the value of withdrawing the combative Fred, who tends to walk the disciplinary tightrope even at the best of times.

That teams are allowed five substitutions per game in the Champions League this season should have made the decision even easier for Solskjaer.


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Instead, he elected to stick with his man not only until the break, but until a second yellow was inevitably flashed 15 minutes into the second half.

Yes, Fred was perhaps unfortunate in that the 'foul' that ended his evening was shown to be a clean tackle on replays.

However, he had already found himself on the opposite side of one such incorrect decision earlier in the game, when Paredes was somehow yellow carded for being stamped on by the United midfielder.

That his manager could not see what was about to happen is frankly bizarre and made a major contribution to United failing to take anything from a game where they carved out more than enough chances.

The consequences of that could stretch far beyond this defeat; should Solskjaer's side lose in Leipzig on the final matchday, it will represent a key moment in another failed Champions League campaign.

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