Ole Gunnar Solskjær defends United players and rues missed ‘big chances’ | Football
Ole Gunnar Solskjær refused to criticise his Manchester United players in public after their insipid defeat at West Ham, insisting that the collective attitude was right and only the quality of their decision-making let them down.
Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell consigned the visitors to defeat and the Sky TV pundits piled in on them, with Roy Keane, the former United captain, saying he was “shocked and saddened by how bad they are”. He added: “Everything about United was lacklustre. No quality. A lack of desire. A lack of leaders. It’s a long way back for them.”
Solskjær, who reported that Marcus Rashford would “probably be out for a little while” with the groin injury that forced him off, argued it was a game of fine margins in which West Ham took their chances and United did not.
“This group wants to do what we’re trying to do,” Solskjær said. “There are key moments in games that can tip them in our favour or theirs – maybe you make a bad decision on a pass – but the attitude and desire is there. That’s not the problem. It’s the quality in our decision-making, in the execution sometimes. We are going to hit some bumps along the road, some highs and lows. This group is out there determined. It was a good atmosphere in the dressing-room. They’ve got the focus right.
“We didn’t create enough chances but we created big chances – some big moments that we didn’t take. They didn’t create too many, either but they scored on theirs. It was a game that could have gone both ways. We had a few moments in the first half when we turned down a key pass and, of course, we had the two chances in the second half [through Juan Mata and Harry Maguire]. If we had those again, I’m sure we’d score more than we miss.”
Solskjær was already without Anthony Martial because of a thigh problem while Mason Greenwood was unavailable because of tonsilitis. With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sánchez moved on to Internazionale over the summer, the last thing Solskjær needed was an injury to Rashford. He had to bring on Jesse Lingard as a makeshift striker.
“We have to scan him [Rashford] tomorrow,” Solskjær said. “Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for Arsenal [on Monday week] and one of them for Rochdale [in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday].”