Paul Merson has questioned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘strange’ decision not to start Bruno Fernandes in Manchester United’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Leicester on Sunday.
A Kelechi Iheanacho brace and superb strike from Youri Tielemans knocked the Red Devils out of the competition at the quarter-final stage in a deserved win for Brendan Rodgers’ side at the King Power Stadium.
Fernandes, 26, has once again been United’s talisman this season, registering 23 goals 13 assists across all competitions, but was only brought on after 64 minutes against the Foxes.
After the game, Solskjaer defended his decision to rest the Portugal international due to the amount of games he has played in quick succession, however, Arsenal hero Merson believes the Norwegian boss got it wrong.
‘When you rotate, you have to get the balance right,’ Merson told Sky Sports.
‘When you rotate and you win, it’s great but when you rotate and you don’t win, that’s when the problems start.
‘Thomas Tuchel has probably rotated just as much as Frank Lampard did but because Frank never got the results, people said he rotated too much. But because Thomas Tuchel is getting the results, no one mentions it.
‘The one player Manchester United have to play is [Bruno] Fernandes. He’s played every single week in virtually every game, then it gets to the quarter-final of the FA Cup and he doesn’t play.
‘He’s played in other games where the game is sort of a dead rubber where they’ve won the first leg and he’s played. I thought it was strange and a bad result for Man Utd. Shocking.’
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On United’s aims for the rest of the season, Merson added: ‘People keep laughing because I keep saying it but Manchester United are the biggest club in world football, in my opinion. But they need to win something.
‘It’s alright going and beating Man City and stopping the run, but you’ve got to kick on and go and win a trophy. Now the pressure is on – they’ve got the Europa and that’s it.’
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