Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Paul Pogba’s half-time substitution during Manchester United’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Granada was down to the manager’s fear of further player suspensions.
Captain Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay all missed the fixture at Old Trafford on Thursday night, and a first-half booking for Pogba – followed by further challenges from the France international – had Solskjaer fearing for the midfielder ahead of the upcoming semi-final meeting with Roma.
Pogba provided the assist for Cavani’s goal in the sixth minute, but his contributions ended at the break.
“Sometimes, Paul wants to win so much… he went into a couple of tackles after his yellow card, but I thought I don’t want to risk [a red card] even though he played so well,” Solskjaer told BT Sport at full-time.
“We missed three today [through suspension]. The season has been hard enough as it is.”
Pogba accepted his manager’s decision, saying: “Some tackles, a yellow card. I had to come off obviously.
“The yellow card was unfortunate. It wasn’t a yellow card for me, but you have to accept it. We won the game, that’s the most important thing.
“I know the foul just after it, I saw all the players trying to get me out. [Solskjaer thought] it’s better I come off before a red card.”
United host Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday before a top-flight trip to Leeds next week.
The first leg of the Red Devils’ Europa League semi-final with Roma follows on 29 April, with the second leg set to be played on 6 May.