Win over Watford more like draw: Ole

Marcus Rashford scoring the opening goal in Manchester United's 2-1 victory over Watford on Saturday. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Rashford "was fantastic, he gave us the energy the others lacked".
Marcus Rashford scoring the opening goal in Manchester United's 2-1 victory over Watford on Saturday. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Rashford "was fantastic, he gave us the energy the others lacked".PHOTO: EPA-EFE

United manager disappointed with team's sloppy display but happy with three points

LONDON • While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was able to mark his first game as Manchester United's full-time manager with a victory, he was far from impressed by the "slow and sloppy" performance by his players.

But, after the 2-1 Premier League win over Watford on Saturday, courtesy of goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, the 46-year-old admitted that despite the below-par display, he would "take the three points" as the game had been "a potential banana skin".

The Norwegian, whose Red Devils' record now stands at 15 victories in 20 matches in all competitions, said: "We came away with a win, which is great but everyone knows we can perform better.

"I'm happy with the result, if not the performance. It was more a draw, performance-wise.

"You could see we have had players out with injuries in the international break and not been able to train them.

"It didn't really feel any different for me because the focus is always the next game, but we as a team felt it was a new start after the disappointment of Wolves (the FA Cup quarter-final defeat), it was almost like the first game of the league."

The former United striker also claimed his team, who moved back into fourth place ahead of Arsenal, who play Newcastle tonight, "feel like we are in the driver's seat" for a Champions League spot.

LIKELY SWITCH FOR POGBA

Paul has been away (on international duty), played two games with France. A bit deeper (role) for them so that is something we may have to think about to get him more involved.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, after his first match as Manchester United's full-time manager, pondering over midfielder Paul Pogba's position in future games.

He added: "There are four very good teams challenging for two places, but we have given ourselves a good chance."

Solskjaer was greeted with a huge banner from the Stretford End as he emerged from the tunnel at Old Trafford, but it was clear from the start that the Hornets had travelled with the intention of spoiling Solskjaer's party.

David de Gea was the busier of the two goalkeepers, while Paul Pogba could not get into the game, leaving his boss to ponder over his position in future games.

He added: "Paul is important for us and we couldn't keep the ball today. We had 50-50 possession at home, you are a bit disappointed with that.

"Paul has been away (on international duty), played two games with France. A bit deeper (role) for them so that is something we may have to think about to get him more involved.

"I thought Rashy (Rashford) was fantastic, he gave us the energy the others lacked, the two centre-backs and Luke Shaw were excellent as well."

His opposite number, Javi Gracia, was also annoyed after failing to take advantage of a "very good performance".

Lamenting "the bad result" and their inability to add to Abdoulaye Doucoure's stoppage-time strike, he said: "We didn't take the chances we created in the first half.

"We dominated the game, had more possession, created more chances. But we didn't score (more) and they punished us. I'm a little bit frustrated."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2019, with the headline 'Win over Watford more like draw: Ole'. Print Edition | Subscribe