Sheffield United: Manchester United boss opens up on decision to substitute Phil Jones at half-time in Bramall Lane thriller
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken out on his decision to withdraw defender Phil Jones from action at half-time on Sunday, in a game that saw his side earn a 3-3 draw in an enthralling spectacle against Sheffield United.
The ex-Blackburn Rovers defender was shrugged off the ball with ease by Blades striker Lys Mousset in the first half, which enabled the hosts to take the lead as John Lundstram's subsequent effort was rebounded in by John Fleck.
Jones was then on the receiving end of a hefty amount of stick from both fans and pundits, and was taken off to be replaced by Jesse Lingard at half-time. The second half saw the Blades extent their lead, before going 3-2 down in a blistering twenty minutes of football, before Oli McBurnie grabbed his side a point in the 90th minute.
Discussing his decision to take Jones off, via the Evening Standard, Solskjaer chose not to publicly criticise his player, who was making his first Premier League appearance of the season.
The Norweigan coach claimed: "We’ve had to change, we had to go for it second half. We had to put another attacker on and I could’ve changed 11 players at half time. It’s so simple.
“Apart from the goalkeeper, because David de Gea kept us in it and he would’ve saved the last one if not for a slight deflection off Harry Maguire’s thigh.
He continued: “It was a tactical thing, but today wasn’t about tactics, it was about the desire we lacked in the first half and they had."
Sheffield United's late goal saw them maintain their place in the top six, and Chris Wilder's side now don't have to face another 'Big Six' club until their trip to Manchester City in late December.
Wolverhampton Wanderers will, however, certainly pose a tough task for the Blades this weekend, although the club's midweek Europa League trip to Braga could see them looking a little more fatigued come Sunday afternoon.