The scrutiny on Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is gaining traction by the minute whenever the Reds walk out on the pitch to play.
United have endured a somewhat inconsistent start to the season after winning five, losing three, and drawing one game so far this campaign.
The clash with Villarreal at Old Trafford was vital for United in their hunt of being involved in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2019. A surprising defeat against Young Boys two weeks ago had dented their aspirations.
Villarreal took the lead early in the second half and after Alex Telles’ perfect volley clawed it back to 1-1, Solskjaer began tinkering with his substitutions.
Solskjaer’s in-game management remains one of the biggest talking points but when Manchester United needed to score, he made the right calls as he was once again vindicated for his decisions. Weeks earlier, substitutes Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard combined to score the winner at West Ham.
Last weekend, Edinson Cavani’s 10-minute cameo was enough to earn United a last-minute penalty against Aston Villa when the Uruguay international flicked the ball onto Kortney Hause’s arm.
And on Wednesday, three of his substitutes were involved in the move which ended with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the winner in the 95th minute. Fred, Cavani, and Lingard all played a pivotal role in the euphoric moment. Clearly, the Norwegian boss is not being given enough credit for his ability to identify a player capable of making a difference.
Often that player has been Jesse Lingard, who assisted Ronaldo’s goal after scoring as a substitute against both West Ham and Newcastle this season.
Ronaldo will take all the praises from last night’s game but despite all the arguments over Solskjaer’s decision making, he remains laser-sharp in his ability to change a game with the introduction of fresh legs.