It felt like deja vu for Manchester United against Everton as substitute Axel Tuanzebe gave away a free-kick which led to a 95th minute equaliser on Saturday.
Back in 2016, Jose Mourinho brought Marouane Fellaini off the bench against Everton only for the big Belgian to give away a penalty. He had only been on the pitch a couple of minutes and United drew 1-1.
Throwing on defensive players to protect a lead often backfires. United found this out to their cost at the weekend.
It has the potential to disrupt an otherwise well balanced set up, and can even simply just change the mindset of both sets of players, serving to invite pressure.
United don’t have to be so cautious. Attacking football is what the club have been built around, and after scoring nine in midweek, Solskjaer should have trusted his attackers to close out the game.
Or he could have brought on an experienced player like Juan Mata, or Dan James, to put pressure on Everton from the front.
Amad Diallo’s dazzling start for Manchester United’s under-23s has increased the likelihood he will be fast tracked into the first team.
In two matches he has three goals and three assists. He’s a player you cannot take your eyes off, especially if you are an opponent.
In these circumstances, Diallo would be the ideal player to bring off the bench when United are looking to protect or extend a lead.
Teams won’t be able to commit forward and risk leaving space for Diallo to exploit. Bringing on an extra defender does the opposite, encouraging teams to push players forward.
There is some risk attached to this of course. Diallo has to be prepared to his defensive work. And yet, as we saw at the weekend and with the previously referenced Fellaini example, bringing on an extra defensive minded player hardly comes without risk itself.
If United bring Diallo off the bench late in games, such is the attention and hype which surrounds him, he will be a huge distraction for the opposition. Solskjaer needs to use that.
A call-up for the Ivorian youngster seems inevitable and well deserved. United have to use this as an opportunity to be more attack minded, either from the start or with substitutions.
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