Jose Mourinho has admitted that removing Paul Pogba potentially cost Manchester United the game against Basel.
Despite making seven changes, United dominated in the opening period on the relaid St Jakob-Park turf as Paul Pogba, captaining the side for the second time, pulled the strings.
It was just his second appearance since a hamstring injury sustained when the sides met on matchday one at Old Trafford, and his exit in Switzerland after 66 minutes made a telling impact.
United ceded control of the game for the final half an hour, and Basel struck in the closing stages for a famous victory. Perhaps play Luke Shaw?
“The first half was a perfect half – without the goals,” Mourinho said.
“It was difficult to repeat in the second half. We knew that the opponent would try a different reaction.
“Did Paul Pogba coming out have an impact on the team? I think it had an impact.
“We were not such a good team after Paul come out, but he had to be (substituted). He cannot go to levels of fatigue after 65 minutes.
“But I brought to the pitch an experienced player like (Nemanja) Matic and I thought he could affect the game.
“I bring Marcus (Rashford) to give us more depth, more speed, more problems to them, Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) to hold the ball, drop and have it.
“The approach was good, I cannot blame the players
“I think we play a match like this 10 times and nine we win comfortably. The one we lose and the one was now.”