How Ole’s subs clinched dramatic triumphs
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s substitutions helped Manchester United to a dramatic win over Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
Our manager was a renowned super-sub in his playing days, often impacting games having come off the bench, with his winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final as the most prominent example.
Looking away from the Treble-clinching goal in injury time against Bayern Munich in Barcelona, Ole also holds the record for most goals scored as a substitute in the Premier League in a single game, netting four against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground back in February 1999.
In other words, the Norwegian knows a thing or two about how bringing on fresh legs and minds can change a game of football, and in recent weeks, there have been a few examples of just how effective changing personnel can prove, as a match approaches its climax.
Away at West Ham United, substitutes Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard combined for our winning goal, with the Serbian playing in the England international, who curled in a superb strike from inside the Hammers' area to seal three points in the capital.
Our no. 14 was again heavily involved in the match-winning moment against the Yellow Submarine in midweek, setting up Cristiano Ronaldo for the 95th-minute winner.
Speaking to club media after the game, the manager walked us through his thinking regarding swapping players mid-game.
"You know sometimes you make subs and they make a good impact and sometimes they don't,” Ole told MUTV.
"I said to Jesse 'please don't make a pass backwards' and he was laughing. And, of course, he would like to have played more but sometimes it works your way, sometimes it doesn't."
In the build-up to our second goal against the Spanish opposition, two other substitutes were among the architects causing the euphoric match-winning moment.
The Brazilian whipped in a cross for Ronaldo to head down to Lingard, and the rest is history.
The boss was pleased with both players' impact and in particular applauded our no.21's work rate.
"The energy that Edinson gave us and gave the crowd, he's exceptional," the Norwegian emphasised in his post-match interview.