Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits his Man Utd team selection in FA Cup defeat to Chelsea 'didn't work'
Solskjaer, after Man Utd lost 3-1 to Chelsea in FA Cup semi-final: "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"
Last Updated: 20/07/20 12:05pm
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 Chelsea ended Manchester 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 - on a 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions - started without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as Solskjaer made four changes from the victory over Crystal Palace, switching to play a back three.
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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 Solskjaer thought had a "massive impact" on the game.
The United boss 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 be perform and everyone has a chance to stake a claim," Solskjaer said.
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"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 United 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 United have a game in hand before they play Leicester on the final day. As it stands, two draws would be enough for Solskjaer's side.
"The more help we get from others, the better," he said when asked about Leicester's result.
"But if we do our job on Wednesday we'll be in a good position before the Leicester game. We want to make sure we're in a position to win the last game so we can qualify. We've got to regroup and go again on Wednesday. We have loads of things to learn but we are developing. This team took a knock today but let's see how the reaction is on Wednesday."
Sky Sports' Peter Smith:
De Gea's errors will make the headlines but Solskjaer's team selection for Manchester United's FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea was raising eyebrows before kick-off and limited his in-form team throughout the match.
United came into this semi-final 19 games unbeaten and on a run of exciting wins shaped by the attacking trio of Marcus Rashford, Martial and Greenwood capitalising on open, expansive football. So it was a shock to see the latter pair begin on the bench to allow a switch to a cautious back three in defence.
With Chelsea playing a similar defensive formation, it made for a cagey first-half, with chances at a premium. United looked for the odd pass over the top to set Dan James or Rashford free but Chelsea nullified the threat and shut down any sign of the attacking play Solskjaer's side have shown since the restart.
Martial did come on at the end of the first half after Eric Bailly's injury, with Solskjaer taking the opportunity to re-jig his set-up, but with Giroud scoring soon after and De Gea's howler coming immediately after the restart, United had a mountain to climb.
Three points in that Premier League fixture will boost United's top-four hopes - especially with their final-day opponents Leicester losing again earlier on Sunday - but it's hard to shake the feeling a full-strength United could have instead been on course for silverware as well as Champions League qualification.