I thought about replacing Fred at half-time, admits Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Jamie Jackson
·2-min read

Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted he considered substituting Fred before the Brazilian was sent off in Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford which leaves their Champions League qualification hopes hanging in the balance.

Before a second yellow card on 70 minutes, the manager stated Fred had been lucky to stay on when, after 24 minutes, he appeared to headbutt Leandro Paredes. On the VAR’s instruction the referee, Daniel Orsato, studied the pitch-side monitor and issued only a first yellow card.

The midfielder’s second came for what looked a fair tackle on Ander Herrera and Solskjær conceded he did ponder removing Fred at the interval.

Related: PSG cut Manchester United down to size with Neymar double and Fred's red card

“Yeah [I did]. Fred has played really well. We spoke about staying calm and on your feet [at the break],” the manager said. “The second yellow card was nowhere near a foul. Ander knows that. Fred shouldn’t put his head towards Paredes [but] I don’t think he touched him. He was a bit lucky to stay on.

“Fred played really disciplined in the second half and when he makes a tackle like this you can’t really fault the boy. But after the decision the ref made you maybe look back and say you should have [taken him off]. The referee made a mistake there but that’s allowed. Fred knows he shouldn’t put his head towards someone even though he doesn’t touch him.”

Solskjaer was pressed regarding whether, given how PSG players might have hoped to cause a second yellow card, Fred should have been replaced.

“You can’t say Ander tried to provoke him, that’s a bit unfair to Ander,” the manager said. “I thought Fred kept his head and cool exceptionally well in the second half and was unlucky with that decision by the referee. So you can say in hindsight to have 11 men of course that would have been better but who’s to say.”

Thomas Tuchel, PSG’s coach, was bemused regarding Orsato’s decision. “I had the impression Fred gave a butt and VAR confirmed it so I was surprised it was a yellow card,” he said.

United still control their own destiny, knowing a point at RB Leipzig next week guarantees progress to the knockout phase.

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down,” said Solskjaer. “We go into any game wanting to win.”

The Norwegian offered an update on the injury sustained by Marcus Rashford, who equalised Neymar’s opener before Marquinhos and a further strike from the Brazilian sealed PSG’s victory. “It’s a niggling shoulder injury,” said Solskjaer. “Let’s see how quickly he can recover. Hopefully he will be ready for the West Ham game [on Saturday].”