Usually when a substitute comes on with five minutes left to play, there’s not enough time to make much of an impression on the game.
Often managers will use a late change to counteract a tactical reshuffle from the opposition or merely wind down the clock.
While Jose Mourinho probably had a combination of the two in mind when he brought on Marouane Fellaini in the dying minutes against Everton on Sunday, it’s safe to say it didn’t go to plan.
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The Manchester United boss claims he wanted Fellaini on the pitch to help deal with the Toffees’ direct style of play – but the towering Belgian did anything but.
Within minutes of entering the fray, he managed to commit a clumsy foul in the penalty area and gift the hosts an equaliser from the spot.
There won’t be a Red Devils fan on the planet who isn’t infuriated by the result at Goodison Park, though some, namely club legend Gary Neville, are more so than most.
Speaking on Sky Sports after the match, the former England defender couldn’t contain his frustration towards Fellaini for essentially costing his team two points through such a needless error.
“It was purely to deal with the long balls into the box,” Neville said.
“You can see the sense in it but when he goes on and does such an idiotic thing like that…
“It was really poor from an experienced international.
“It’s no reflection on the manager.
“He’s made the substitution for the right reasons and he has been let down by his player.”
Certainly some strong words from the Old Trafford favourite, but perhaps they’re justified given the ramifications of the draw.
Despite dominating games and ending up without three points to show for it, United have now won just two of their last nine Premier League fixtures and sit 13 points behind the league leaders.
The Red Devils play Ukrainian outfit Zorya in the Europa League on Thursday evening and will desperate to shake off their poor run of form.
However, while United fans would likely take any win at this stage, ending their abysmal string of league results is surely the priority.
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