Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended his selection policy after they crashed out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 loss to Leicester City.
The Norwegian admitted his side were second best after falling away in the second half against Brendan Rodgers' side. Their slack performance came after a 1-0 win away at AC Milan secured passage to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Speaking after the match to the BBC, Solskjaer said: "We didn't have the spark tonight - but it's understandable. This team have been fantastic in the last three or four months. We played every three days and been on a great run. It just caught up with us, all the games and travels. Thursday night in Milan was a big night and took a lot of out of us physically. We didn't have the extra zip, authority and confidence today.
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"We tried to get on the front foot and start well because sometimes you can get that adrenaline boost and confidence if you get a goal and that can carry you over the line. We've got too many players that have played too many games and too many that haven't really had much football; Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and others are trying to get in who haven't had enough football. We didn't have enough against a tough team."
Solskjaer rested Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes from the starting line-up, and Edinson Cavani was also at the bench. Solskjaer suggested that the reasons for his team selection were not necessarily clear to those not in the know.
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Discussing his team selection, he said: "I would've done the same again, the changes were necessary to do. We knew Paul [Pogba] wouldn't last more than an hour and I don't think I would do anything differently. What goes on behind the scenes isn't always known."
Despite the exit from United's third cup competition so far this season, Solskjaer was nonetheless hopeful that the team could find success in the Europa League and secure Champions League football for next season.
"When we win, we win together and when we lose, we lose together. We're not pointing fingers and blaming - the second one is a good goal by the boy but maybe with a zip of energy we could've got to him and wouldn't have been done as easily in the middle. That's been one of our strengths, keeping clean sheets and been dogged but we didn't have the opportunity," he said.
"We've got the Europa League and Premier League to concentrate on - yes we would've liked to go to Wembley but now all the focus is on the games we do have. We're in a good position in the league and we want to keep improving, of course Leicester are just behind us so it won't be easy but we want to keep going and get as far as possible in the Europa as well."
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