Manchester United’s Champions League campaign got off to a terrible start against Young Boys.

A 2-1 defeat leaves United with a lot of work to do to get back on track and qualify for the knockout rounds.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must accept his share of the blame for the result despite the awful individual errors from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard.

Here is a look at five things Solskjaer got wrong which played a part in the defeat…

BSC Young Boys v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Leaving Varane on the bench

Raphael Varane is a four-times Champions League winner. There was no reason to bench him for United’s opening game of the group.

Solskjaer set the wrong tone for the match by leaving Varane out of the starting line-up.

With United down to 10 men at half-time, Solskjaer panicked.

Had Varane and Harry Maguire been the two centre-backs, would Victor Lindelof have been brought on to make it a five?

It was clear Varane needed to be on the pitch to try and help United hold out, he should have just been on from the start.

If game time was the reason for Varane being benched, then perhaps Solskjaer should have prioritised this match over the Newcastle fixture.

BSC Young Boys v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Shifting to five at the back

United have not played five at the back since the 3-2 loss away at RB Leipzig, and never with Varane. So this mid-game switch was not an ideal scenario to make the shift.

The tactical change left the team unbalanced, as United had too many defenders and not enough midfielders.

United failed to create a single chance after the red card and Young Boys had too much possession in the second half. Their equaliser felt inevitable.

Donny van de Beek was doing a decent job in midfield and he will have been disappointed to go off.

(Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

Ronaldo off and Lingard on

United don’t want to ask too much of Cristiano Ronaldo, who had little service, but taking him off for Jesse Lingard felt odd.


It left United without an outlet in attack, and when United had a free-kick minutes later, there was no Ronaldo in the centre for Diogo Dalot to try and aim for.

Ronaldo is known for scoring late goals and delivering in key situations. Solskjaer did not give him the opportunity to show that.

The Lingard change proved doubly disastrous with the England international giving away the key pass for Young Boys’ injury time winner.

Fred off and Martial on

One positive change Solskjaer did make was bringing on Nemanja Matic. United’s control of the midfield began to improve afterwards.

Then this was undone with Fred going off in the 88th minute for an attacker, with Anthony Martial coming on.

Martial like Ronaldo was able to offer little, with no service, and United’s midfield was just weakened.

Martial on for Ronaldo would have been a more sensible call, if United wanted the Frenchman on the pitch.

Manchester United Training and Press Conference
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

No pace on the pitch

Without Mason Greenwood, United’s lack of pace was noticeable. He could have been an important change to stretch the Young Boys’ defence.

Another option United ignored was Anthony Elanga, who is a rapid young player with an eye for goal and strong dribbling ability.

He could have been a game changer who would have taken pressure off United’s defence, just like Greenwood, who could have supported Ronaldo and created space for him.

Instead of making ambitious attacking changes, United were too cautious and played for a draw. As usual when attempting to do so, the end result backfires.

Solskjaer had the players on the bench who could have changed this game positively, and opted not to use them.

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