With time slipping from Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to complete an unlikely comeback against Manchester City, John Giles described the decision to let Fred take a crucial freekick as “stupidity.”
Manchester United came into Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final trailing 3-1 after the first leg in Old Trafford.
After taking the lead through Nemanja Matic in the first half, United needed one more to force extra time against their city rivals
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer elected to let Fred take a free kick in the dying embers of the game over Juan Mata, who is regarded as the club’s best free-kick taker.
Solskjaer admitted after the match that the reason behind choosing Fred over Mata was because the Brazilian had been on fire in training on Tuesday.
Speaking on Thursday Night Football with Nathan Murphy, Giles said Solskjaer’s reasoning was “stupid.”
“Maybe Mata wasn’t taking the blooming free-kicks in training and of course Fred is going to knock a few in training, but who does it on the pitch?
“But the fact is when you’re playing on the pitch, when it really matters, he’s been far and away their most successful freekick taker,” the Ireland and Leeds United great said.
The free-kick decision wasn’t the only thing to attract Giles’ ire. He pointed out that it was also negligent of the United manager to leave Mata on the bench.
“The thing I can’t understand about Mata is that he started as a sub again. And he is by far and away, in my opinion, their best creative midfield player.”
“He’s on the bench all the time for big matches, I can’t see why.
“He comes out with some remarkable stuff, Solskjaer, to make excuses. That he [Mata] wasn’t taking them in training.
“Maybe he wasn’t allowed to take them in training?” Giles questioned.