Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he substituted Paul Pogba as he didn't want to put the midfielder at risk of getting a red card during Manchester United 2-0 victory against Granada.
Pogba took the armband in the absence of suspended Harry Maguire and provided an assist for Edinson Cavani's opener. In the 17th minute, the Frenchman was booked and Solskjaer opted to bring in Donny van de Beek at the start of the second half in which Granada were calling for him to receive a second booking.
"I didn't want to risk a scenario where he went into a tackle and was a bit late," Solskjaer said.
"I thought he went in fairly, won a few, got a couple of fouls against him, which I didn't think were fouls. So there was no point risking him and Donny (van de Beek) needed a game and he did well. But Paul's a leader on and off the pitch. I've got quite a few of them."
Granada manager Diego Martinez felt Pogba should have been sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the first half but pride was his overriding post-match emotion.
"We weren't clinical enough," he said after their maiden European campaign ended in the quarter-finals.
"I think we deserved a goal today and in the first match. We have great values. We're a team who, as you'll have seen, went out with our heads held high and competing until the last second, and in that sense, I take my hat off to them.
"A quarter-final of the Europa League against United at Old Trafford is tremendous."
The Red Devils will now face AS Roma in the semi-finals of this season's Europa League.