EPL

Solskjaer expecting more from Man Utd after Young Boys defeat

By Sports Desk September 16, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appreciates the expectations on his Manchester United side are high as they return to Premier League action against West Ham.

United are unbeaten in 28 away top-flight games – the longest run in English league history – conceding just 19 goals in the process.

They have also won their last two meetings with Sunday's opponents as they go in search of a third consecutive win against West Ham for the first time since 2014.

However, following a surprise 2-1 Champions League loss to Young Boys on Tuesday, Solskjaer acknowledged his side need to respond on Sunday.

"They’re focused of course, a little bit disappointed but not too downbeat. We know it's a setback and we have to do better, and we've got five games to get the 10 to 12 points we need," Solskjaer told reporters.

"[It's] not the start we wanted but we're a good team that can bounce back again and the group is very good."

Asked whether the media's reaction post-match surprised him, Solskjaer responded: "No, it doesn't surprise me. I've got my job and we do our job, you tend to in the media get judged by behaviours and outcomes rather than intentions.

"It's black and white. But we go into the game with good intentions, we make changes with good intentions, go into a tackle and make a pass with good intentions.

"The outcome always decides which headline we'll see and very, very rarely is the game fantastic or really, really bad, it just hovers about good or not good enough.

"We know the expectations are high and we expect more of ourselves as well, the performance wasn't up to our standard."

Questions piled on regarding Solskjaer's capabilities following the surrender of a one-goal lead against Young Boys, with the removal of Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo being key issues for some.

But Solskjaer evaded questions over his management style or philosophy, instead insisting the desire of the United team could prove the difference between winning and losing this term.

"I don't sit here and claim and talk... football is a simple game and it's about making good decisions and being in a team," he continued.

"Sometimes we look too much into all the intricacies – it's passion, it's desire, who wants to win the ball? Which one of the strikers has the desire to get on the end of crosses?

"You can talk about all sorts, it looks nice on paper. But when you go out on that pitch, it's who wants to win, that’s one of the big things. You want winners and I think I'm getting there with my team, team players."

The United head coach is also hoping to have Edinson Cavani back from injury soon, with the Uruguay striker's only involvement for the Red Devils this season coming in a 37-minute cameo against Wolves at the end of August.

Since then, he has struggled with fitness issues, but Solskjaer is confident the former Paris Saint-Germain star can be involved again from next week.

"Edinson [Cavani] hopefully will start training with us after the weekend, maybe Monday, so maybe involved on Wednesday," he added.

"He had a fantastic season last season, the impact he made when he got his fitness… He struggled with niggly injuries early on.

"We feel that to get the best out of him this season we need to get him 100 per cent fit and not rush him. We’ve got a strong squad that will cope with having to let players heal and not risk any further injuries.

"I see Edinson having a massive impact, he's that type of personality and player. He can't wait to play and he's working really hard to get back on the pitch."

Related items

  • Ramos to begin PSG training next week, but Verratti out for a month Ramos to begin PSG training next week, but Verratti out for a month

    Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Sergio Ramos is expected to rejoin first-team training next week following an injury lay-off, but Marco Verratti will be out of action for roughly a month.

    Ramos joined PSG on a free transfer from Real Madrid in pre-season, having spent 16 years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    The experienced centre-back was part of something of a squad revolution at the Parc des Princes, with Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi also moving to Paris.

    But Ramos is yet to make his PSG debut after suffering a calf injury at the end of July, having also missed large chunks of 2020-21 due to fitness issues, including a previous calf problem.

    PSG have been cautious about reintroducing Ramos to training, eager to avoid aggravating the injury, but it appears he is finally close to making his debut.

    "Sergio Ramos' recovery programme, coordinated by the medical staff, is evolving as planned," read a medical update on PSG's website.

    "He is expected to be able to begin training with the rest of the squad next week."

    But Verratti is set for a spell on the sidelines with a hip injury, which the club believe could take a month to recover from.

    As such, the Italy international will likely miss their next five matches across all competitions, potentially including PSG's two upcoming Champions League clashes with RB Leipzig and Manchester City.

    "After suffering a knock in the last game, Marco Verratti has a deep lesion in the oblique muscles of his left hip. He is expected to be out for four weeks, depending on how the injury evolves," the update added.

    PSG also revealed Kylian Mbappe is a doubt for Friday's visit of Lille due to illness – he is to be evaluated over the next couple of days.

  • Man Utd boss Solskjaer takes training as club hold off making a change Man Utd boss Solskjaer takes training as club hold off making a change

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took training at Manchester United on Tuesday as the under-pressure manager looked set to avoid losing his job for now.

    A 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday was the lowest point of the Norwegian's time in charge, with a third loss of the Premier League season leaving United eight points behind early leaders Chelsea.

    His first-team squad reassembled at the club's Carrington training base two days on from that debacle, with Solskjaer still at the helm. He reportedly arrived early in the morning to put his players through their paces.

    Senior United officials are said to have held a meeting on Monday, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward joined by managing director Richard Arnold and co-chairman Joel Glazer.

    United have repeatedly backed the Norwegian, who took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, initially as an interim appointment. They consider the former United striker an ideal figurehead, and Solskjaer remains a popular figure among supporters, even with those who want a change of manager.

    The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Solskjaer still retains the support of Woodward, Arnold and United's influential former manager Alex Ferguson, with Joel Glazer set to have the final say. Similarly, The Telegraph said Solskjaer has been given three games to show he should be retained.

    United would be wary of removing Solskjaer if there is no suitable candidate available to replace the 48-year-old, and early signs point to him likely remaining in charge for the Premier League clash with Tottenham on Saturday. That is followed by games against Atalanta and Manchester City.

    Former Chelsea, Inter, Juventus and Italy boss Antonio Conte has been linked as a possible successor and is said to be open to the idea; however, Zinedine Zidane would not be interested in the job, according to reports in Spain, where he had two spells in charge of Real Madrid.

    Solskjaer's disappointment after the Old Trafford defeat was plain, as he said: "I have never felt any worse than this. This is the lowest I have been. I accept the responsibility. That is mine today and it is mine going forward.

    "I do believe in myself and I am getting close to what we want at the club. The results lately haven't been good enough. Hands up. Next week is Tottenham away. Then Atalanta. Then Man City. We have to go into this with the right frame of mind."

    In July, Solskjaer signed a new three-year contract at United, and the club backed him as Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane joined during the transfer window.

    He has an average points-per-game record of 1.83, which is the third highest in United's Premier League history. In that respect he only trails his predecessor Mourinho (1.89) and the long-serving Ferguson (2.16).

    Solskjaer has a 51.89 per cent win record from his 106 Premier League games in charge of the Red Devils to date.

  • If a day comes where I don't enjoy it, I'll go and play golf – Koeman reaffirms commitment to Barcelona If a day comes where I don't enjoy it, I'll go and play golf – Koeman reaffirms commitment to Barcelona

    Ronald Koeman says he has no intention of stepping down as Barcelona head coach.

    Koeman has endured a difficult start to the new season, with Barca ninth in LaLiga and suffering back-to-back Champions League group stage defeats for the first time since 2000-01.

    The Catalan side went down 2-1 to Real Madrid on Sunday, Koeman becoming just the second manager to lose all three of his opening El Clasico meetings.

    Koeman's car was mobbed by fans as he left Camp Nou following that defeat to Barca's fierce rivals.

    However, the former Netherlands boss assured that he remains committed to his role as he prepares to take on Rayo Vallecano, who Barca have won their last 13 LaLiga games against.

    "I am older in this, I want to enjoy the atmosphere that there was the other day on the field [for El Clasico]," Koeman told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

    "I accept the results. I want to enjoy [my time here], if it is eight years, if it is one year and yes if it's three months.

    "There are things as a coach that you don't like, but I like being with the players, preparing the games, analysing and having to decide is what I like.

    "The other day I loved the game, Not the result because it was a Clasico, but the atmosphere. We made merits for another result, we need a little luck.

    "These things are the ones I like, and if a day comes when I don't enjoy it, I'll go and dedicate myself to playing golf five days a week. I understand that it is a delicate situation, but there is a future in this club."

    Barca are winless in three LaLiga away games, failing to score in their last two trips. They have not gone three consecutive games on the road without scoring since February 2003.

    The Blaugrana, however, have won on their past two visits to newly-promoted top-flight teams without conceding a goal and Koeman appreciates the importance of a reaction on Wednesday.

    "There is always a need to win, especially after the defeat the other day," he continued. "The team is able to react well."

    Asked whether he was not enjoying his time with Barca and whether a new coach would withstand the pressure he is under, Koeman responded: "It depends, if the results are good or bad and the team you are in.

    "[Madrid boss Carlo] Ancelotti encouraged me, he knows perfectly well about the situation because he has been in great teams.

    "I don't know, it is important to know the situation, be a former player from here and have character if the wind comes against. I am like that and I want to see how far I can go."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.