Solskjaer saw his side go down early against West Brom, Mbaye Diagne’s beautifully headed effort sailed in just two minutes from kick-off and United were down 1-0. United starman Bruno Fernandes was able to level the game before halftime, but the score remained level after the full ninety minutes.
This result took Manchester United’s points tally to 46, ten points behind league leaders Manchester City and level with Leicester. The defensive issues are quite evident as United have allowed thirty-one goals (the second most conceded in the top ten) so far this season. Still, speaking to reporters, Solskjaer had different thoughts, pinning the issue towards his strike force:
“You don’t do enough to win if you don’t get the finish or last pass off,”
“Mason Greenwood flashed the ball across the goal, and someone should be there.
“They call me a tap-in merchant. We should have been there.”
The 1-1 draw against West Brom saw United collect a mere ten points from their previous seven Premier League fixtures. This horrific string of results also saw United lose to Sheffield United – the worst team in EPL history. Talking after the loss, Solskjaer said:
“We should play better, but we gave ourselves a tough start. You have 90 minutes to make amends, but we didn’t build that momentum until late in the first half.”
“It’s a compliment for the boys that we got into the position we are now”
“We won’t let them [Manchester City] run away with it – we’re playing them soon. We’re not giving it away early – no we’re not.”
Solskjaer and Fernandes Conflict
Following his ignorance towards manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s words, Bruno Fernandes was on the receiving end of the boss’ warpath. Solskjaer told Fernandes to work down the wing against West Brom, and after firing back, the boss screamed at his player. Arguing over ‘space’ became a part of the circus against West Brom, the midfielder firing back at his manager when asked to position himself correctly.
Fernandes is yet to comment on the incident but did take to Instagram to share the disappointment. The United manager brushed off the incident while highlighting that settling for second place is not an option, despite the unfavourable draw against West Brom. He said:
“I’m disappointed, of course. We’ve come away with two points less than we wanted to.”
“The start was difficult. They put us under pressure as you expect when they get a kick-off, and we couldn’t clear our lines.”
“Then again, we get 90 minutes-plus to get two goals. I’d rather concede in the first than 92nd minute.”
“We couldn’t get enough big chances. Great goal scored, a fantastic technique by Bruno after some excellent build-up play and pressure.”
Solskjaer and co might find some relief in their next Premier League fixture against Newcastle, the struggling Magpies are handing out points left, right, and centre, a perfect moment for United to get back to the winning column.
With that being said, a midweek Europa League fixture could tire out some legs at the weekend. Moreover, United will play away in the first leg against Real Sociedad. Betting sites in the USA offer some insane values on the Red Devils to progress past the Spanish side.
As visible during the game against Everton last weekend, United’s defence faltered heavily, while the West Brom fixture showed a lack of chances. However, Solskjaer remains confident that his team can fight for the Premier League title. The United manager told the press when questioned if the title chase was over for them:
“No, I don’t think so,”
“I think no one will see it away this early. Of course, no one knows this season, and it’s so unpredictable. Life is so unpredictable. Anything can happen. Of course, we’re not going to settle for second.”
I have confidence the slump can end for Solskjaer, and perhaps, the next time we see him trending on Twitter, it will be for all the right reasons.