Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has justified his decision to field a weakened team as Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Leicester City (3-1) in the quarterfinal on Sunday evening.
The Man United coach made five changes from the side that beat AC Milan in the Europa League last-16 second leg on Thursday with Paul Pogba making a return to the starting line-up while Bruno Fernandes was left on the bench until the second half and Marcus Rashford was missing from the squad.
Solskjaer’s charges responded to the switches with a poor display as they were beaten for the first time in 30 domestic away games.
Mason Greenwood cancelled out Kelechi Iheanacho’s opener, but second-half goals from Youri Tielemans and Iheanacho killed off Man United.
It leaves Solskjaer with only the Europa League left as a realistic opportunity to win the first silverware of his reign as Man United coach.
“I would have started the same team again. Every team selection has reasons behind it. On Thursday Bruno broke all his records physically and the boy is not inhuman,” said Solskjaer.
“He has played a game every three or four days. It was a chance to start both Donny (Van de Beek) and Paul (Pogba) but the accumulation of games maybe caught up with us.
“We knew we had substitutes who could come on and make a difference. Everyone could see we weren’t as sharp as we have been.”
Without a major trophy since 2017, Man United are 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and face Spanish side Granada in the Europa League quarterfinals in April.
“You are always disappointed, especially when it’s the end of the line of a cup run. We couldn’t find the normal spark, brightness and energy,” added Solskjaer.
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By FARPost Reporter