Football

Scholes, Ferdinand blame Mourinho for wrong substitutions

Former Red Devils Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand questioned manager Jose Mourinho's tactical substitutions in Manchester United's 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Chelsea yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Eden Hazard's 22nd-minute penalty proved the difference between the teams to ensure Mourinho's second season at Old Trafford ends without a trophy.

The pair felt that United played well for most of the game, but the decision to replace Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford left them bemused, the Mirror reported.

Both Lingard and Rashford were beginning to affect the game more in the second half, while Alexis Sanchez remained a peripheral figure, and the United legends felt Mourinho should have brought off the Chilean instead.

Speaking on BT Sports, Scholes said: "The only thing that was lacking was that bit of quality in the final third.

"How many times Sanchez gave the ball away was scary really and he's a top-class player, but he's not really done it for United yet.

"Jose's substitutes, he brought Rashford and Lingard off just as they were starting to influence the game... Those two local lads are easy targets, but how Sanchez stayed on the pitch with the pair creating problems as they were I have no idea.

Ferdinand added: "I agree, we looked at each other and thought 'wow', that's a big call because Sanchez wasn't playing well, wasn't influencing the game in any way, shape or form.

"The manager is paid to make big decisions and today, in terms of substitutes, I don't think he made the correct ones.

"But I wouldn't say United were poor today, they just didn't have that cutting edge."

And in a twist that smacks of irony, Mourinho bemoaned Antonio Conte's tactics as his side failed to break down Chelsea's defensive wall and their "long-ball" game .

"I congratulated them because they won, but I don't think they deserved to win," he said.

"We deserved to win, we were the better team, but that's football... Chelsea are not stupid. They know our team without Romelu Lukaku or Marouane Fellaini do not have a presence, so putting eight or nine players in front of the box they knew they would be dominant in that direct football.

"We tried everything by other ways, but they had a huge block of compacted players.

"Also, they played only long balls. When you play against a team so predictable, it is quite easy to adapt to it.

"I didn't think we'd concede but Hazard is a very good player and he created a penalty."

Football