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Manchester United's FA Cup journey was ended as Leicester City ran out 3-1 winners to secure their place in a Wembley semi-final.
The hosts had the better chances of a scrappy opening, with Jamie Vardy stinging the palms of Dean Henderson, who retained his place in the United goal.
And then Fred was guilty of losing the ball one too many times, when his misplaced back-pass was latched onto by Kelechi Iheanacho to score the easiest of openers.
United barely mustered a chance in response, but did manage an equaliser against the run of play when Mason Greenwood fired home a Paul Pogba cross before the break.
The classy Youri Tielemans then put the Foxes back in front in the second half, when his shot found the bottom corner of Henderson's net.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rang the changes, bringing four players on including Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani.
However, it was Leicester that notched the all-important third, with Iheanacho's second securing their semi-final berth, where they will face Southampton.
As for United it's more 'what ifs?' in a cup competition that will surely leave Solskjaer with some serious regrets.
Another cup failure
Make that eight quarter finals, four semi-finals, no finals and most importantly, zero trophies since Solskjaer replaced Mourinho.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic rightly acknowledged that without trophies, the progress they've shown under the Norwegian "doesn't matter".
The United boss had previously said that winning cups could be seen more as an ego thing for managers, rather than a barometer of where a club is.
But United need to win trophies. And Solskjaer needs to prove he can win one.
Why then – with an international break on the horizon – did he decide to rest some of his most important players?
Their position in the top-four looks assured meaning full focus could have gone on the two cup competitions. Instead he rotated and was duly punished.
He's now placed unnecessary pressure on the rest of the season.
The Donny dilemma
We are now six months into the Donny van de Beek experiment and one pertinent question remains – does Solskjaer know where to play him?
The Dutchman was Solskjaer’s big-ticket transfer last summer and it’s a deal that is looking increasingly ill-advised with every passing week.
It was a surprise to see Van de Beek in the line-up at all, such has been his lack of opportunities this term.
Utilised as a No.10, he looked out of touch, out of form and out of position. Despite his record at Ajax, Van de Beek was just at home at the base of the midfield as he was behind the striker.
Due to Bruno Fernandes, Van de Beek will never be a long-term option in that role, so continually playing him in cup competitions seems misguided.
Between all parties, a decision needs to be made on where he’s best suited. It’s taken long enough.
The handbrake remains on
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Regardless of the opponent, Solskjaer appears committed to playing two holding midfielders.
When one of those is Scott McTominay, the United boss can just about get away with it. His energy and willingness to get forward means that attacking players aren’t left too isolated.
But a combination of Fred and Nemanja Matic possess none of those instincts and mean United will predominantly sit deep, even against a team that are designed to counter anyway.
In a knockout game, this felt like an opportunity to play a more attacking formation.
Solskjaer has publicly backed him central defensive pairing, but actions appear to speak louder than words. And those actions still display a lack of trust.
For United to really rival the likes of Manchester City, they need to be more on the front foot.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Manchester United FC
- Leicester City FC
- FA Cup
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