Manchester United

Management is about making decisions which mostly involves weighing risks. Some risks could turn out well given the outcome, while some could lead to regrets.

But not taking any at all is total incompetence. And on Wednesday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once again showed his incompetence as a manager; and this is not about the defeat to Paris Saint Germain alone – it has always been evident from time immemorial.

His decision to leave Fred on the pitch having escaped a red card against Paris Saint Germain at the early stage of the matchday five of the UEFA Champions League, coupled with profligacy on the path of United’s attackers has obviously ensured that United would have to wait for the last group game away at RB Leipzig to secure qualification.

How Long Will Ole’s Indecisiveness Cost United?

Many wouldn’t have anticipated United struggling in the final rounds of the group stage a month ago, having taken six points from two games against their main challengers for a place in the knockout stages. 

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The Red Devils were poised to progress to the second round of the competition but are now undone by a moment of pure amateurism on the part of the manager which is failing to decide whether to go for the kill or salvage a draw in the rarefied match against their French counterparts. 

Marquinhos celebrating his goal, a few moments before Fred finally got sent off. (Getty Images)

And now, that decision not to substitute Fred up until his 70th-minute sending off has become another easily avoidable mistake which could cost United a whole lot.

It was not a case of Solskjaer lacking options, he had five substitutes to choose from. Yet, the Norwegian chose to gift the Parisiens all three points by not doing what was needed in earnest.

This error was not as flagrant as the one in Istanbul. Then again, that is not saying much. Both are basic mistakes that can and usually will be punished at this level.

United are guilty of committing both in a group stage campaign that has otherwise been quietly impressive, one that should already have secured qualification.

Edinson Cavani
The performance of Edinson Cavani was a rare positive for United at home to PSG. (Getty Images)

For all the positives of the opening round win in Paris, for all the optimism generated by the emphatic 5-0 victory over Leipzig. A failure to do the basics right has allowed both of their Group H rivals to make up for lost ground and has left United’s fate in the balance with one game remaining. If they do not take the point they need against Leipzig, they will only have themselves to blame.


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