Solskjaer explains Cavani's half-time substitution during Man Utd's 9-0 rout of Southampton

Edinson Cavani Manchester United 2020-21Getty

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained his decision to substitute Edinson Cavani at half-time during Manchester United's 9-0 thrashing of Southampton.

United moved level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table after a comprehensive victory against the Saints on Tuesday night.

Cavani, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James all got on the scoresheet at Old Trafford after the visitors were reduced to 10 men just two minutes into the contest.

Alex Jankewitz was shown a straight red for a rash challenge on McTominay and the floodgates opened thereafter, with Jan Bednarek, who scored an own goal just after the half-hour mark, also being sent off late in the second half after bringing down Martial in the box.

United made their numerical advantage count in ruthless fashion, which allowed Solskjaer to ring the changes at the interval.

A few eyebrows were raised when the Norwegian removed Cavani for Martial though, with the Uruguayan having headed home his sixth goal of the season in the 39th minute to cap a superb first-half display. 

However, Solskjaer revealed post-match that the 33-year-old was withdrawn as a precaution after picking up a knock, which he is hopeful will not keep the striker out of action for any length of time.

“Edinson got a bad tackle on his ankle so he had to come off,” the Red Devils boss, whose side face Everton at home on Saturday, told BT Sport. “He probably would have loved to be out there scoring goals. But there was no point in taking any risks. 

"Hopefully, it won’t swell up too much.”

Solskjaer went on to praise Martial and Mason Greenwood, with the former scoring his first brace of the season and the latter putting in an impressive shift on the right wing.

“Anthony Martial, it is good to get him going, he could have had another one with the chip. Unfortunately, it did not go in but a good performance from everyone," he said.

“You have to take your chances in tight or open games, you never know what might be the deciding factor, we know – better than anyone – what goal difference can do to you because we have lost the league on goal difference.

“Confidence is one thing but it was about the mojo and spark, the X-Factor. Mason Greenwood was terrific and his performance was top for a player who did not score a goal.”