Solskjaer laments 'poorest' performance

Wolves captain Conor Coady showing his delight after attacking midfielder Diogo Jota scored their second goal in the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United at the Molineux Stadium on Saturday.
Wolves captain Conor Coady showing his delight after attacking midfielder Diogo Jota scored their second goal in the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United at the Molineux Stadium on Saturday.PHOTOS: REUTERS

But he says United 'can't sulk too long' about FA Cup exit as they focus on top-4 finish and Europe

LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his Manchester United team had taken "a big step backwards" after turning in the worst display of his four-month reign, as Wolves sent them packing from the FA Cup with a 2-1 win on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford's added-time strike was not enough as Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota fired Nuno Espirito Santo's side into their first semi-final appearance since 1998.

This was United's second straight defeat and Solskjaer conceded "quite a lot was missing today" from his players, who were second-best at Molineux.

The United caretaker manager said: "It was the poorest performance we've had.

"We never had the urgency and quality on the ball, even though without the ball in the first half, we did okay.

"There was a lack of urgency going forward and a lack of forward passing and a lack of regains.

"We felt too comfortable in possession and we never managed to put their goalkeeper or defenders under pressure. Today, we got what we deserved because we never deserved to win this game."

Wolves captain Conor Coady showing his delight after attacking midfielder Diogo Jota scored their second goal in the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United at the Molineux Stadium on Saturday.
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER.

LACKADAISICAL DEVILS

There was a lack of urgency going forward and a lack of forward passing and a lack of regains. Today, we got what we deserved because we never deserved to win this game.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, interim Manchester United boss, on his team's poor display in the loss to Wolves in the FA Cup.

However, the Norwegian was still upbeat for the rest of the season, claiming that United had "much to play for" as they aim for a top-four finish in the Premier League and progression past Barcelona in the last eight of the Champions League.

He said: "We're in a great position in the league, we've got the Champions League. You can't sulk for too long. We've got to look forward and put the result today behind us.

"Manchester United in April and May always find their form. We can't wait for the challenge when Barcelona come."

While Solskjaer will not lift any domestic silverware this term, newly promoted Wolves, who had upset Liverpool in the third round, are in with a huge shout of winning their first trophy since lifting the League Cup in 1980.

And Santo, who has yet to win a major honour in his managerial career, paid tribute to "the amazing support of our fans believing in us", with the 12th man playing its part in spurring his players on against the Red Devils.

The Portuguese said: "It means a lot of course. The FA Cup is the oldest competition and we played well.

"The noise was fantastic. We achieved it together. Now, we have to prepare for the next one."

Wolves captain Conor Coady also felt it was "a deserved result" as the home side "nullified them from start to finish".

He added: "We were outstanding. They are an unbelievable club with talented players, (but) we said before in the changing rooms, we have the chance to make history and we now have the chance to go through again."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2019, with the headline 'Solskjaer laments 'poorest' performance'. Print Edition | Subscribe