Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Stands By Decision to Bench Ronaldo

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Embattled Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended his decision to start yesterday’s 1-1 draw to Everton with Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba on the bench. All three did eventually come on, but none of them impacted the game in a manner commensurate with their potential.

Given that this was the final game before an international break, there was no immediate concern to rest this critical troika of key players, and the Norwegian is now under fire (rightly so) for having done this.

OGS maintains that he made the right call.

“You make decisions throughout a long, long season and you’ve got to manage the players’ workload and the decision was, for me, the correct one today,” Solskjaer said.

“Anthony Martial did well, scored a good goal, [Edinson] Cavani needed minutes, he got an hour, could have had a goal, a great cross and a great chance for him, we have to make those decisions sometimes.”

United are now on international break, and they enter the period having won just two of their last six matches, and having taken only a single point from their last possible six.

They now sit fourth in the table, ahead of a slate of games that will see the level of competition rise:  Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City are their next four league matches.

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. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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