EPL

Solskjaer unhappy with Liverpool draw: We didn't play well enough to win

By Sports Desk January 17, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Manchester United missed an opportunity against Liverpool after they played out a 0-0 draw with the champions on Sunday.

Premier League leaders United maintained a three-point advantage over their Anfield hosts after an uneventful encounter, as they stretched their unbeaten away league run to 16 matches.

Liverpool had 66 per cent of the possession and 17 shots to United's eight, but they rarely had visiting goalkeeper David de Gea troubled.

Indeed, United had the best two chances in the second half, with Alisson saving from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba to preserve the Reds' unbeaten home record in the top flight which has now reached 68 games.

Solskjaer thought his side did not show enough composure in possession and was disappointed they did not do more to test a makeshift centre-back pairing of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.

Asked if United deserved to win, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: "No, we didn't, because I don't think we played well enough. We didn't impose ourselves on the game, especially first half.

"I think we grew into the game and at the end, you felt 'yeah, it's here for us to win'. We created two massive chances and two brilliant saves by the keeper.

"We can play better than this – we know that. We can be more composed, have the ball more.

"We had to defend really often and I thought we gave the ball away too often, maybe some moments we missed, when Marcus [Rashford] makes his runs in behind, maybe sometimes we don't pass it every time he runs and sometimes we missed it when he should have had it. [There are] a couple of things to improve on.

"I've got to be honest and say I'm a bit disappointed at the moment. We're playing against a fantastic team and they had more of the possession, but still, you want to go here, you know the injuries they've had lately, you think you can go here and get a result. We didn't, but a point might be okay if we win the next one."

When asked if United should have been braver, Solskjaer replied: "It depends on what you mean with bravery, in team selection or on the ball. I think we could have been better on the ball, been more quality, but I'd probably start with the same team, if that's what you're asking.

"I know we can play better but we're still coming away with a point, which I think shows how far we've come in a year or even six months.

"Of course it's a positive, you take a point, but you want to win every game so you can't be sat or standing here smiling too much. But we go again. We know we can do better than this, which is the big positive."

Pogba's late opening was the best chance of the game, the France midfielder firing straight at Alisson after being set up by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

It was otherwise a strong performance from United's record signing, who attempted more passes in the opposition half (22) than any team-mate and regained possession a joint-high nine times from an unorthodox role on the right wing.

"I think Paul was absolutely brilliant," said Solskjaer. "We knew he had to do a job defensively, block and help us with [Andy] Robertson, and I thought he was excellent and he should have got the goal his performance deserved."

Related items

  • Mourinho compares Tottenham teenager to Marcus Rashford Mourinho compares Tottenham teenager to Marcus Rashford

    Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Tottenham youngster Dane Scarlett following an impressive Europa League cameo, likening him to Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

    The 16-year-old made his fourth senior appearance for the club on Wednesday, coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes a 4-0 win over Wolfsberger.

    And he made a telling impact almost immediately, hustling a defender out of possession to set up Carlos Vinicius for the hosts' fourth goal.

    Mourinho could barely contain his delight at the rapid progress of a player whose quality reminds him of another major talent he once helped develop.

    "He is a diamond, a kid with incredible potential," the Portuguese told BT Sport.

    "He has worked many times with the first team and that gives him a different personality. He is still 16, 17 soon [in March] and I believe next season he will be a first-team squad player because he has a lot of talent.

    "He is going to be a fantastic player and I hope everything around him goes well. He is a striker, a number nine, I have been playing him from the sides similar to Marcus Rashford and he is very clever.”

    Mourinho praised Scarlett even further in his post-match media conference, revealing the teenager is already splitting his time between the senior squad and Under-23s.

    "Dane has incredible talent. I don't want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid's boss is going to kill me," he added.

    "I don't want that so I don't want to speak too well about him. I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first-team squad next season.

    "So this season he is there and here, goes to training sessions with us and matches with the kids of his age and trains there.

    "Next season he has to be a first-team player. Immense talent. Very good physical development.

    "He's very good, he's going to be very good. I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent."

  • Dort matches Durant and Westbrook as Thunder roll past Spurs Dort matches Durant and Westbrook as Thunder roll past Spurs

    Luguentz Dort finds himself in illustrious company after his game-winning shot lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder to victory over the San Antonio Spurs. 

    With the game tied at 99-99, Dort received the ball in the corner and successfully drained a three-pointer, sealing the win in dramatic fashion before falling to the court as he was mobbed by team-mates. 

    The 21-year-old is just the third player in franchise history to hit a game-winning attempt from beyond the arc as time expired. The others? Kevin Durant (twice) and Russell Westbrook (three times).

    "It felt good when it left my hand," said Dort. "I was just staring at the ball and when it dropped in, I dropped too."

    Having gone undrafted in 2019, Dort joined the Thunder initially on a two-way contract. He featured in 36 games last season, averaging 6.8 points per game while shooting 29.7 per cent from deep, building a reputation for his defensive abilities. 

    However, he has had a larger role on offense in his second campaign in the NBA, nearly doubling his output in terms of points per game (12.5) while improving to 31.8 per cent from three-point range. 

    "Lu's changed it around, obviously, changed the narrative," Thunder team-mate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said after the Spurs game.  

    "It's just him working hard, not getting down on himself, being confident. When you work hard, confidence comes with it because you believe in yourself." 

    Gilgeous-Alexander also excelled against San Antonio, setting a new career high for points as he contributed 42 to Oklahoma City's cause. 

    "I just wanted to be aggressive, try to put the defense on their heels, and from there, make the right play," said Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 21 points alone in the third period.

    Dort's clinching shot lifted him to 16 points, while Al Horford also managed the same.

    Dejounte Murray had 27 in a losing cause for the Spurs, who were beaten for just the fourth time in 13 games on the road this season. 

  • Mbappe contract decision coming soon, say PSG Mbappe contract decision coming soon, say PSG

    Paris Saint-Germain are getting close to a decision over a new deal for Kylian Mbappe, the club's sporting director Leonardo has revealed.

    The Frenchman, who has scored 90 goals in just 100 appearances for PSG since arriving from Monaco in 2017, will be one year out from the expiry of his contract when the current season comes to a close.

    As such, in the event that new terms cannot be agreed, PSG would need to sanction a transfer this close-season if they are to avoid losing Mbappe for free.

    However, Leonardo remains relaxed about ongoing discussions, even if he admitted that a conclusion will need to be reached soon.

    "On Kylian Mbappe's contract, we've been talking for a long time," the Brazilian told France Bleu.

    "Before, it was mainly to be clear about our position and what we want. There, I think we are getting to the point where we must take a position and a decision.

    "We have a good opening of dialogue."

    Like Mbappe, Neymar is also less than 18 months out from the expiry of his deal with the French champions.

    Leonardo is keen to find a resolution on that front, too, and hopes to find an agreement with Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat over new terms.

    He added: "Neymar, it is on the right track, but in the end, he decides after the signing and it is not yet the case.

    "We arrive at the right time I think, same thing for Di Maria and Bernat. These are the four issues we are discussing. 

    "The idea is to get there as quickly as possible, because on our side, we have the intention to renew all four."

    Ligue 1 winners in seven of the last eight seasons, PSG currently sit in third place, four points off the pace set by leaders Lille and a point behind second-placed Lyon.

    On the thrilling race that awaits, Leonardo said: "We will surely have an exciting end to the season. 

    "Paris is one of the favorites to win the title: we are not going to say that we do not think of winning and that we do not feel in the conditions to do so. 

    "After, if we look at the last days, Lyon, Lille and Monaco have a very important winning streak. But the ambition and the objectives remain the same."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.