Carlisle boss Steven Pressley said his decision to drop Kelvin Etuhu was down to tactics rather than the midfielder’s performance levels.

And the Blues boss admitted Etuhu's "immense" contribution helped turn the game in United’s favour when he came off the bench in the 2-1 victory against Swindon.

The 30-year-old was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up for the first time in 17 games as Pressley brought Jamie Devitt back into the side after suspension.

On the Etuhu decision, Pressley said: “It wasn’t such a decision based on performance, it was more a decision that I wanted to play quite an attacking team.

“I felt this was a stage where draws aren’t good enough for us. We wanted to win games, and we had to find a different way of trying to open teams up.

“We played quite an attacking midfield – not the largest midfield, probably the smallest midfield in the club’s history! – but players that all want to pass forward and open the game up.

“That was the reason we played that way. We wanted to attack. But we didn’t manage, after 30 minutes, to get the control of the game that we’d hoped.”

Pressley introduced Etuhu for Stefan Scougall after 57 minutes with the game level at 1-1.

United’s boss said he was delighted with both the impact he had, and his attitude.

“I left Kelvin out and as a senior player he will be disappointed with that, but his reaction to being dropped when he came on was immense,” Pressley said.

“If we’re going to achieve anything that’s the type of reaction you need. A manager’s only as good as his substitutions in terms of their mentality. If they don’t go on with the right mentality it’s never a good substitution.

“He went on with a great mentality and, I thought, changed the flow of the game at that moment. He maybe released the younger players, who were outstanding again, [Callum] O’Hare and [Regan] Slater.”

Pressley, meanwhile, explained why Jason Kennedy was omitted from the 18-man squad.

United’s subs against Swindon were Louis Gray, Peter Grant, Gary Miller, Mike Jones, Etuhu, Nathan Thomas and Connor Simpson, the latter called into the squad after missing out on selection recently

Pressley said: “I generally run with two defenders, two midfielders and two strikers from the outfield players. With Kelvin dropping down, and the loss of Liam [McCarron] to injury, I needed another attacking player on the bench.”