Paul Pogba admits he had little choice but to come off at half-time during Manchester United’s win over Granada on Thursday night.
United set-up a semi final tie against Roma as they fought hard to beat their Spanish opponents 4-0 on aggregate thanks to a 2-0 win at Old Trafford in the second leg.
Pogba captained United for the first time in over two years in the absence of the suspended Harry Maguire but was taken off at half-time over concerns he might get sent off.
The French midfielder was harshly booked for a perceived foul in the first-half before Granada players pressured the referee to send him off for a second bookable offence.
A red card would have ruled Pogba out of the first-leg against Roma later this month and he admits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had no choice but to bring him off at the break.
“I had to come off,” he told BT Sport. “But I know that if I come off the other players who come in they will make the difference as well.
“So this yellow card was unfortunate. For me it wasn’t a yellow card and I’m sure for a lot of people. But you’ve got to accept it. I think it was a foul against me, but we won that is the most important thing.”
When asked if he thought the Granada players might try to get him sent off if he had stayed on the pitch the French international added: “For sure. I know the foul just after it I saw all the players were trying to get me out. That is when the manager saw it as well that it is better if I come off before I get the red card and I could put my team in difficulties.”
Speaking after the match Solskjaer gave his own take on the situation.
“Sometimes, Paul wants to win so much,” he told BT Sport. “He went into a couple of tackles after his yellow card but I thought I don’t want to risk that [him being sent off] even though he played so well. We missed three today [through suspension]. The season has been hard enough as it is.”