Solskjaer Drops Ronaldo, Pogba, Sancho, Pays Price With Dropped Points


Resting key players right before an international break? Well, that’s a bold strategy to be sure and apparently, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a bold man. The Norwegian dropped Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho today, making sure they’re fresh for Portugal, France and England for the international period that begins in a couple days.

Pogba came on for Fred in the 70′, Ronaldo for Edinson Cavani in the 57′, and Sancho for Anthony Martial in the ’57. The match result was a 1-1 draw at home to Everton.

Pretty bizarre, and highly questionable that Solskjaer wouldn’t play Ronaldo the full 90 in any game that’s meaningful. While Cavani still has quality at his age, Ronaldo just bailed out United in midweek, in the Champions League and they really could have used an entire game, not just 20+ minutes from him here.

He did have a decent chance, to score the game-winner, but just couldn’t finish. As for Sancho, he’s now in the depths of a drought that is now even worse than the slow start he had at Borussia Dortmund last season.

We’re still waiting for his first goal involvement at United and that is mind-boggling to say the least.

He also had a chance to net the game-winner, in the closing minutes of regular time, but he just didn’t put anything on it. He was in a prime position to make Jordan Pickford really have to work at trying to stop his shot, but the end result looked like a soft pass directly to his Three Lions teammate.

The man who started in place of him, Anthony Martial, did score and that is worthy of kudos, especially when you consider how he has only scored twice in his last 24 appearances with the club.

You had to wonder what the Frenchman was doing in the first team to begin with.

And why the McFred obsession?

Solskjaer has a lot of explaining to do right now, as this team has all the talent in the world, but they keep dropping points, and they’ll head into the international break in a table position far below where they deserve to be.

If they’re performing like this now, imagine where they’ll be once they really start playing some much better competition.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast.

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