'I've been a sub more than anyone' - Solskjaer defends decision to leave Van de Beek on the bench

By Sports Desk October 01, 2021

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his decision to leave Donny van de Beek on the bench during Manchester United's dramatic 2-1 win over Villarreal in the Champions League.

The Dutch central midfielder was filmed throwing his chewing gum and having to be calmed down by team-mates as Fred and Jesse Lingard were chosen to come on with the scores tied at 1-1 and one minute of normal time remaining at Old Trafford.

The 24-year-old has played just 141 minutes of football this season after being denied the chance to leave the club in the most recent transfer window.

Solskjaer argues, however, that with a squad so stacked full of talent, it is impossible for him to keep everyone happy, and insists that he is satisfied with Van de Beek's professional conduct.

"You know, I manage a squad full of international footballers, competitive footballers who want to make a difference, who want to play," Solskjaer said to the media. "They all want to be on the pitch, of course they do.

"Donny was ready to come on, as all players should be. I've been a sub more than anyone in this club probably - I must have a record [for] appearances as a sub - and you have to be ready all the time. I've been not very happy a few times but that is the decision the manager makes.

"Alex [Telles] was coming off as a left-back and Fred did that job well. So I understand the frustration, of course, every player is keen to play, that's got to be built into energy and determination for when you get on and show me.

"It's not just Donny, I've got a squad of internationals and if we're going to be successful we need positive energy, no energy sappers or soakers.

"Donny has never affected his team-mates negatively. As soon as I see players affecting the team negatively then that's a different scenario and I'll probably be firmer."

United's next challenge is their upcoming fixture with Everton at Old Trafford on October 2.

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