Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits his team selection against Chelsea “didn’t work” as resting key players backfired in the FA Cup semi-final defeat.
David de Gea was at fault twice as the Blues ended United’s long unbeaten run with a 3-1 win at Wembley on Sunday to book their place in the FA Cup final against Arsenal.
United started without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as Solskjaer switched from Crystal Palace lineup to play a back three.
He was forced into a change just before Chelsea took the lead when Eric Bailly had to be stretchered off with a serious-looking head injury, a moment the United boss thought had a “massive impact” on the game.
Solskjaer also admitted he had one eye on United’s Premier League clash with West Ham on Wednesday night when selecting his XI.
He said: “We picked a team to give us a best possible opportunity to go through in the cup and be ready for Wednesday. It didn’t work today. We had to change things at half-time when Eric came off but that will stand us in good stead for Wednesday. I picked the team today to go through.”
De Gea is fast becoming under pressure to retain his place for United after a series of uncharacteristic mistakes this season, and he added two more to his copybook with poor attempts to keep out shots from Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount either side of half-time.
“Everyone has to perform and everyone has a chance to stake a claim,” Solskjaer said.
“David knows he should have saved the second goal, but that’s done now. It’s hard for a goalkeeper to make amends. It’s so much easier for outfield players. He showed in the rest of the game that he made a few good saves but David knows he should have saved that one.”
Attention now turns to Wednesday night when Solskjaer’s side host West Ham, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Leicester’s defeat on Sunday at Spurs means the teams are level on points in the race for Champions League qualification but the Red Devils have a game in hand before they play the Foxes on the final day. As it stands, two draws would be enough for United.