Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he thought about taking Fred off at half time of Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-German which left qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League in the balance.
The Brazilian midfielder was fortunate to stay on the pitch after a headbutt on Leandro Paredes and came close to earning himself a second yellow card with a couple risky challenges.
Despite walking on thin ice, Solskjaer decided to keep Fred on for the start of the second half, a decision which backfired when the 27-year-old was finally shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Ander Herrera.
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This proved to be a turning point in the contest, coming just seconds after PSG had taken a 2-1 lead through Marquinhos. United chased the game with 10 men, but were stretched by PSG pace on the counter as the French champions scored a third late on.
“Fred shouldn't put his head towards him [Paredes],” Solskjaer confessed to BT Sport in his post-match interview. “I don't think he touched him. He was a bit lucky to stay on.”
When asked if he considered taking Fred off at the interval, Solskjaer replied: “Yeah... but Fred has played really well. We spoke about staying calm and on your feet.”
Solskjaer also highlighted the role played by former Manchester United midfielder Herrera in earning Fred his second yellow card in the second half, commenting: “The second yellow card was nowhere near a foul. Ander [Herrera] knows that. He definitely knows.”
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United were made to rue a number of missed opportunities, including one which saw Anthony Martial balloon over the bar from inside the box. Edinson Cavani also struck the crossbar with a clever chip.
“It was a very good game which deserved fans,” Solskjaer reflected, finding the positives in a damaging result which leaves Manchester United needing to avoid defeat away to RB Leipzig next week to make the Champions League last 16.
“With a bit more clinical finishing we should have finished the game. They were there for the taking [at one stage]. We had some big chances. The difference when you get to the big games is the clinical moments.”
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