In July, Manchester United faced Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes from the previous match, a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace.
What followed was a lifeless performance as the Blues swept United aside to win 3-1.
A chance to reach the final of a cup competition was effectively tossed aside to boost the chances of finishing in the top four.
United qualified for the Champions League but are already out of the competition before Christmas.
So was Solskjaer’s decision worth it? It seems to have backfired, in truth.
The Norwegian badly needs a trophy, and so do United, having not won anything since the 2017 Europa League.
United passed up the chance to qualify for a final, where they’d have faced an Arsenal side who are very beatable, in order to chase that Champions League dream.
It doesn’t seem worth it now.
From a personal perspective, Solskjaer would have more credit in the bank as the holder of the FA Cup than he does now for guiding United into – and out of – the Champions League.
There’s also a more ideological question here about whether it’s ever acceptable to toss away a chance to win a trophy at a club like United.
In July, it could be argued that the ends justified the means. Now, that rotated side looks like a decision which has backfired on Solskjaer.
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