Start off well, Solskjaer tells United after winning run ends

LONDON • Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned his players against complacency after a 2-2 draw at home to Burnley halted their six-game winning streak in the English Premier League under him.

He had been bidding to make history by becoming the first manager to win his first seven league games, but was thwarted after the Clarets seized a shock two-goal lead with nine minutes left on Tuesday night.

Although United salvaged a point, after Paul Pogba's penalty and an added-time goal from Victor Lindelof cancelled out strikes from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, Solskjaer criticised his players for being "too slow in possession in the first half".

He said: "The danger of winning might be that you think what we've done before gives us the right to start off on 90 per cent because we're winning one or two-nil.

"But we don't. You have to start properly in each game and today, we didn't start off well enough to cause Burnley enough problems."

The Red Devils, on 45 points and now two behind fifth-placed Arsenal, piled plenty of pressure on Burnley's defence, but caused too few problems with their lack of wing play.

Solskjaer added: "We know they (Burnley) are well organised and happy if we cross the ball, we needed more tempo and more urgency in the play, play our way into the box more."

  • 1st 

  • Manchester United have failed to open the scoring for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in nine matches in all competitions.

He was, however, happy with the late rally after the Old Trafford faithful were on the verge of witnessing his first loss in charge.

The Norwegian said: "I was stopped so many times by the staff, so many people saying great fighting spirit, and the way they came back was fantastic and so of course (I am) happy with a point.

"We could have got three even at the end but we just ran out of time. We started too late with the urgency, that's a learning curve, but now you've got your answer, (we) can come back if we go one down or two down, so I'm very happy with the response."

But United's Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic did not share Solskjaer's optimism over their battling qualities as he felt that the draw was still "two points lost".

Conceding that their performance had not been up to scratch, he said: "We expected more. We should play better, have to play better, see where we made mistakes, to improve and play like we have in the last seven or eight games.

"But this is the Premier League, every team has quality and will punish you if you miss chances, exactly what Burnley did today.

"The mentality needs to be much better than the first 75 minutes. I have to repeat - today was not good enough."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'Start off well, Solskjaer tells United after winning run ends'. Print Edition | Subscribe