Two things Solskjaer got wrong and two he got right as Man Utd held by Everton

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Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side missed out on a chance to go top of the Premier League.

Solskjaer rotated his squad for the Old Trafford clash, having complained in the run-up of the scheduling of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off three days after their Champions League clash with Villarreal.

Anthony Martial gave United the lead when he fired home from the left on 43 minutes after being played in by Bruno Fernandes.

But Everton were level midway through the second half when Andros Townsend finished off a counter-attack.

United had brought on their big guns by then, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba missed chances to fire Solskjaer's side back into the lead.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at two things Solskjaer got wrong and two he got right.

Two things Solskjaer got wrong:

Benching his best players

Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba were among those benched as Solskjaer rotated his squad following the midweek win over Villarreal.

The manager complained about the scheduling before the lunchtime kick-off, with Liverpool and Manchester City not facing off until Sunday despite having played their Champions League fixtures a day earlier than United.

Solskjaer had a point, and there was little else he could do other than give some of his stars a rest ahead of the international break.

But his selection backfired, with Ronaldo, Pogba and Sancho unable to make the difference after coming on.

Midfield selection

The debate rages on about United's double midfield pivot, and Fred was back in the team alongside Scott McTominay with Pogba dropped to the bench.

The 'McFred' partnership continues to attract criticism, but they were coping against Everton until Townsend struck on 65 minutes.

Fred was one of those at fault in the build-up as he was too easily brushed off in a challenge, before Luke Shaw inexplicably sprinted out of position to leave the left flank wide open for Townsend.

Five minutes later Fred was replaced by Pogba. And while the Brazilian was having a decent game until the equaliser, Solskjaer may rue not making the change earlier with Pogba adding extra impetus to United's attacking play late on.

And two he got right:

Gambling on Martial

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Eyebrows were raised when Anthony Martial was handed just his second start of the season for United.

The French forward often struggles to have an impact on games – but smashed home his first goal for Solskjaer's side since February as he ran onto a perfectly-weighted ball from Bruno Fernandes just before the break.

The goal took the pressure off United in a game in which Everton were starting to gain a foothold – and will no doubt also boost the Martial confidence.

And it certainly appeared to give him an instant lift as a few minutes later he tested Jordan Pickford again following a neat one-two with Edinson Cavani.

Martial still didn't have his best game before being replaced by Jadon Sancho – but his goal justified his selection.

Managing his young stars

Mason Greenwood has again been left out of Gareth Southgate's squad, he is fast establishing himself as a crucial player for Solskjaer.

While the likes of Ronaldo and Pogba were given a rest from the starting line-up, Solskjaer stuck with Greenwood on the right flank and was rewarded with another impressive performance.

The 20-year-old looked frightening at times, and was involved in the opener as he found Fernandes before the Portuguese ace put it on a plate for Martial.

By contrast, Sancho was initially taken out of the firing line after questions were asked this week over the winger's effectiveness in his early days at United.

But the 21-year-old looked hungry when he came off the bench, and set up chances for Ronaldo and Pogba which they were unable to capitalise on.

  • Champions League
  • Premier League
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Gareth Southgate
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
  • Paul Pogba
  • Manchester United FC

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