Solskjaer and Maguire lament Manchester United’s lack of discipline in Bern Sign up HERE for the latest MUFC breaking news and transfer updates
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A sudden red card often tears up the game plan, but not often does it tear up and collapse as much as United in Switzerland. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side appeared to be easing to their first win of the Champions League campaign when Cristiano Ronaldo tapped in Bruno Fernandes’ beautiful cross.
They had all the firepower, all the confidence, and all the possession, until a haze of red mist descended on Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
His red card for a high, studs-up challenge on Christopher Martins changed everything from United’s shape, demeanour, and their confidence.
Even with Ronaldo, United looked shellshocked, as if they were blind-sided by the sudden swing of the pendulum.
Playing with ten men is never easy, but Solskjaer’s reaction to the sending off in comparison with Thomas Tuchel’s when his Chelsea side were reduced to ten men against Liverpool conveys the difference of the two sides.
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Manchester United were embarrassed by Young Boys (Image: GETTY)
Tuchel lost Reece James to a straight red card, and N’Golo Kante to injury at Anfield.
However, his introduction of Thiago Silva and Mateo Kovacic, for Kai Havertz and Kante, from the bench allowed Chelsea to maintain their shape, albeit with one less attacker to support Romelu Lukaku.
Tuchel had experience, defensive nous, and leadership to call upon from his bench, as well as another half decent defensive midfielder.
3-4-3 is an unforgivable formation to play with if you are a central midfielder as Saul found out for Chelsea during his forgettable debut.
Many of Manchester United’s players were worth more than the entire Young Boys team combined (Image: EXPRESS)
Solskjaer reacted by sending on Diogo Dalot for Jadon Sancho, sensibly restoring the United back four.
Then it appears panic set in, as he completely flipped the system by bringing on Raphael Varane for Donny van de Beek to bring United into a 5-3-1 formation.
Would this have happened if Manchester United had Declan Rice within their ranks?
ESPN reported Solskjaer’s side are keen on purchasing the England midfielder who is valued at around £100m by Manchester United.
Would Solskjaer have felt the need to move to a back five if Declan Rice was partnered with Paul Pogba in the United midfield.
United were linked with a £100m move for Declan Rice (Image: GETTY)
In the second half, Young Boys penned United in their half winning every second ball and retrieving every clearance.
Rice’s ability to win the ball back, carry it up the pitch, and find a man is pivotal to West Ham United.
David Moyes’ side are lethal on the counterattack, and the way in which Rice manoeuvres his body to protect the ball, before driving up the pitch and finding the likes of Michail Antonio or Pablo Fornals is invaluable.
Solskjaer had a five-time Ballon D’Or winner leading the line in Switzerland until he substituted him for Lingard in the 72nd minute for Jesse Lingard.
Ronaldo was so isolated and alone in the second half.
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Even the steward Ronaldo hit in the face with one of his warm-up pile-drivers may have seen more of the ball than Ronaldo did in the second half.
Solskjaer’s lack of confidence in United’s shape when down to ten men spoke volumes of how he feels about his deeper midfield options. Indeed, his worries are not unfounded.
After-all, the whole midfield could not get near Young Boys in the second half, even when Nemanja Matic was introduced for Fernandes towards in the 72nd minute.
Scott McTominay’s absence was deafening, and a midfield partnership of the Scot and Rice may be on Solskjaer’s wish-list this season.
But if the events conspired in Switzerland reappear in Villarreal and Atalanta during this Champions League campaign, then United’s desperation, and with that Rice’s transfer fee, could only increase.