Richards had blasted Solskjaer for his substitutions against Young Boys in the Champions League, but the Manchester United manager’s decisions against West Ham proved crucial
The Red Devils had travelled to the London Stadium with an unbeaten league record after four matches of the Premier League season.
Despite that record though, United have been unconvincing for large parts of their games, with Solskjaer coming under fire for his decision making with team selection.
Matters came to a head in the defeat to Young Boys in the first outing of the campaign in the Champions League in midweek, in which Solskjaer made a number of baffling substitutions.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Burno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho were all brought off during the clash in Bern.
But bringing on more defensive minded players in Nemanja Matic and Diogo Dalot had little impact, with David Wagner’s men scoring a winner deep into injury time.
That goal came after another sub, Jesse Lingard, had played an ill-advised back-pass to David De Gea which allowed Jordan Siebatcheu to slot in.
Though Solskjaer was forced to deal with the fact that Aaron Wan Bissaka had been sent off, he was still criticised for his tactical decisions.
Former Manchester City star Richards joined the chorus of those taking aim at the United boss ahead of the clash with West Ham.
“I think it was [blown out of proportion] when you go down to 10 men, it’s difficult and don’t forget you’re playing on a plastic pitch as well for your knees and ankles, they’re used to it,” he told Sky Sports.
“But that’s not making excuses, the Wan Bissaka challenge changed the whole game.
“The one thing I couldn’t understand was towards the end of the game, he took off Fred and brought on Martial at the time it was 1-1 they ended up losing the game 2-1.
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“If you look at the tactical element of it I couldn’t quite understand it. In terms of people saying Ole isn’t good enough, I just believe on that occasion it was difficult because of the red card.”
Fresh off the back of that criticism, Solskjaer was able to make Richards eat his words with a game-changing substitution against the Hammers.
Said Benrahma had given the hosts the lead on the half-hour mark with a long-range strike that deflected in off Raphael Varane.
United bounced back from that setback within just five minutes when Ronaldo slotted in after Lukas Fabinanski had spilled the ball.
Despite a number of penalty claims, United had struggled to find a way past Fabinanski in the second half.
But that all changed when Solskjaer made a double substitution, bringing on Lingard and Sancho with just over 15 minutes remaining.
It proved to be an inspired decision, with Lingard scoring a stunning winner with a minute of normal time remaining to hand United the three points.
United survived a late scare when West Ham were awarded a penalty, but Solskjaer proved Richards wrong with his substitutions on Sunday.
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