Jose Mourinho has claimed that a lack of attacking options on the bench prevented him from making a substitution in Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat by Juventus.
United neglected to bring any player off the bench on Tuesday night, despite trailing to their visitors for the majority of the evening, following Paulo Dybala’s 17th-minute strike.
Mourinho named 18-year-old Tahith Chong among his substitutes for the first time but believed it was too soon to hand United’s most recent young player of the year his debut.
The United manager also lamented the absences of Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Marouane Fellaini, who were ruled out of the Group H clash through injury.
When asked why he had not made a substitution, Mourinho said: “Bear in mind Sanchez was in the stand. Lingard was in the stand. Fellaini may have been in the stand or at home as I didn’t see him.
”The only really attacking option was a young 18-year-old lad [Chong] who has never played in the first team before. Given the dynamic of the game, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to bring him on.
“You can’t expect a kid making his debut in a game like this to give you something like scoring a goal. So that’s why I didn’t make any changes on the pitch.”
Mourinho has often relied on Fellaini to change the dynamic of a game and regularly brings the midfielder on to provide a more physical, unpredictable presence.
“I really missed Fellaini because when we are dominant, we are playing in the opponents’ half and the opponent closes the way they did, and they brought [Andrea] Barzagli as a third centre-back, Fellaini is a player that gives us different things,” Mourinho said.
“We missed him, but the boys gave everything and when the boys give everything and go until the last second I am always happy with them.”
Alongside Chong, Mourinho elected not to introduce midfielders Andreas Pereira, Fred or Ander Herrera, while Eric Bailly and Matteo Darmian were also left out of the match along with reserve goalkeeper Sergio Romero.