Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Alex Telles fitness and decision to replace Brazilian with Luke Shaw vs Wolves

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened up on his decision to haul Alex Telles off at half-time of his side’s recent win over Wolves.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Alex Telles fitness and decision to replace Brazilian with Luke Shaw vs Wolves

United 1-0 Wolves

The Red Devils welcomed Nuno Espirito Santo’s men to Old Trafford on Tuesday night, for their latest Premier League outing.

United headed into proceedings with their tails up, on the back of a run of 5 unbeaten across all competitions.

In turn, ahead of kick-off, Solskjaer and co. were no doubt aware that a win would guide them to within 2 points of table-topping Liverpool.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Alex Telles fitness and decision to replace Brazilian with Luke Shaw vs Wolves

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 20: Victor Lindelof of Manchester United celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 4-0 during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford on December 20, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

And, when all was said and done in Manchester 48 hours ago, strengthen their title challenge even further is precisely what the hosts managed.

An altogether forgetful 90 minutes eventually saw a solitary Marcus Rashford strike deep into injury-time separate the sides following the full-time whistle:

‘Change to the set-up’

Whilst, in the end, Tuesday’s action played out in altogether positive fashion for United, one player who was nevertheless likely left disappointed by how proceedings unfolded was Alex Telles.

Brazilian stopper Telles was handed a start by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but was somewhat surprisingly removed from the fray at the interval.

The United boss opted to replace his summer addition with Luke Shaw, who, to his credit, performed superbly over the course of the 2nd-half at Old Trafford.

Nevertheless, speaking during a press conference this afternoon ahead of United’s meeting with Aston Villa, Solskjaer was drawn on his decision, and whether fitness had played a part.

The Norwegian, though, went on to assure that Telles was substituted for purely ‘tactical’ reasons, and is available to feature in 24 hours’ time:

Alex is fine. That was just a tactical decision we made, a change to the set-up.

When pressed further on the state of his squad ahead of the Reds’ showdown with high-flying Villa, Solskjaer continued:

We have a strong squad.  We’ve rotated a lot and not really found, you’d say, a settled XI this season but I don’t think it’s about that anyway. It’s going to be about a squad of 25-26 players and I think, towards the end of the season, that will help us. It has to be done this way.

When you leave out Scott and Fred, it’s not easy because they deserve to play every game. But Nemanja and Paul played so well against Everton that I wanted that midfield against Wolves. We’ll be getting injuries and suspensions, that will happen, but our squad is well capable and ready for every game.

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# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 16 17 33
2 Manchester United FC 15 8 30
3 Leicester City FC 16 9 29
4 Everton FC 15 7 29
5 Aston Villa FC 14 14 26
6 Chelsea FC 16 13 26
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 15 11 26
8 Manchester City FC 14 9 26
9 Southampton FC 16 6 26
10 West Ham United FC 16 2 23
11 Leeds United 16 0 23
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 16 -6 21
13 Arsenal FC 16 -3 20
14 Newcastle United FC 15 -7 19
15 Crystal Palace FC 16 -9 19
16 Burnley FC 15 -11 16
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 16 -7 13
18 Fulham FC 15 -10 11
19 West Bromwich Albion 16 -24 8
20 Sheffield United FC 16 -19 2
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 10
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 8
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 6
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 5
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 5
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 5
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 5
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 5
El Ghazi, Anwar Aston Villa FC 5

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