Manchester United manager Solskjaer reacts to running stat vs Everton
Everton ran eight kilometres more than United during their 4-0 thumping at Goodison Park, where United suffered a sixth defeat from their last eight and set an unwanted club record for most goals conceded in a Premier League season.
United’s running stats were in the bottom three upon Solskjaer‘s caretaker appointment on December 19 and, although they have shown greater intensity under the Norwegian, numerous United players have suffered muscular injuries in recent months and the players’ conditioning has been questioned.
Fitness was maybe not as much of an issue at Goodison Park as commitment, though. Solskjaer questioned certain United players’ loyalty to the club amid their worst run of form since May 1989 and felt not enough were prepared to put their bodies on the line.
“That’s one of the things I’ve said here,” Solskjaer said in response to the running stats. “That’s the basics and basic ingredients in a team performance is running, desire, fitness.
Manchester United vs Everton reaction
“We know our fitness is nowhere near good enough. I can’t wait to get a pre-season done. It’s been fantastic to get to where we are, don’t get me wrong and maybe that’s… We’ve been chasing results and are close to the top four and we never envisaged you could be so close when you came in, but maybe it’s caught up with us.
“And we all know to win games of football: Basics and fitness. That’s nothing to do with talent. It’s not a surprise that you hear the stats Everton have ran more than us. It’s not just about running, it’s about decisions, sticking your head in where it hurts, defend a long throw-in, defend a corner, block that shot, tackle middle of the pitch, put your body on the line. It hurts to win football games.
“So this is just general basics and we were far off Everton today, they beat us fair and square and deserve all the credit they can get.
“We were two points ahead of Everton wen I was under no illusions we could win the league and challenge for top two or top three like this. If you look at the table just before Christmas and look at the table now, we’re in the same position but the amount of points we’ve taken, that’s down to the players.
“Maybe it’s caught up with us, going through in the Champions League, maybe – as you’re alluding to as well – we’re not fit enough because we don’t run enough or does it not mean enough.
“In the end players will know it has to mean everything for you to play for this club. Like it does for the fans who travelled here and sang for 90 minutes or plus, after the game as well, that’s everything.”