Manchester United won 2-0 over Granada last night, and proceeded 4-0 to the Europa League semi-finals. At half-time, though, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer substituted Paul Pogba. Why did Solskjaer sub Pogba at half-time? The United head coach has explained his decision.
Edinson Cavani’s effort and a Jesus Vallejo own goal resulted in the two goals of the match. And it was Pogba’s header that assisted Cavani in securing that initial lead for United.
Pogba told BT Sport about the goal: “I made the run and I knew he was behind me. The way the ball went to him was perfect. A beautiful goal.”
Why did Solskjaer sub Pogba at half-time?
However, Pogba was replaced by Donny van de Beek at the interval, which Solskjaer now explains.
It was a decision borne out of fear that the midfielder might pick up a red card after a yellow one.
The coach told BT Sport: “Sometimes, Paul wants to win so much… he went into a couple of tackles after his yellow card but I thought I don’t want to risk that [him being sent off] even though he played so well.”
“We missed three today [through suspension]. The season has been hard enough as it is,” he added.
Pogba himself said, without any ill-will: “Some tackles, a yellow card. I had to come off obviously.”
“The yellow card was unfortunate. It wasn’t a yellow card for me but you have to accept it. We won the game, that’s the most important thing,” he added.
He also thought that the Granada players identified him as a target after he received a yellow card.
“I know the foul just after it, I saw all the players trying to get me out. [The manager thought] It’s better I come off before red card,” he said, perhaps hinting toward Granada as responsible.