Solskjær: United ‘lost their heads’ against City in January

United host City in 182nd Manchester derby, their fourth meeting this season

 United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “Sometimes being at home with your fans, you want to show them what you can do and beat your opponent. And sometimes you open too many spaces.”   Photograph: Reuters/Andrew Yates

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “Sometimes being at home with your fans, you want to show them what you can do and beat your opponent. And sometimes you open too many spaces.” Photograph: Reuters/Andrew Yates

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has admitted Manchester United lost their heads for 15 minutes when Manchester City beat them in January, but said his team had learned from the Carabao Cup defeat at Old Trafford.

United host City in Sunday’s league match, which is the 182nd derby and a fourth meeting with their crosstown rivals this season. Solskjær’s side have won two – 2-1 in December’s reverse league fixture and a 1-0 in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg – but in the home defeat United were overrun during the first half and fortunate to trail only 3-0 at the interval.

Solskjær said: “For 15 minutes definitely, our heads went for a spell there, thinking that we had to recover the game in 10 minutes. You don’t have to do that when it’s a cup competition and two games, so we’ve learned from that one, definitely.

“When you’re at home and you have to open up against a team like Man City, they will exploit that if you’re not 100 per cent. Sometimes being at home with your fans, you want to show them what you can do and beat your opponent, and sometimes you open too many spaces.

“That’s what we did for those 10-15 minutes or 20 minutes after they scored a worldie [from Bernardo Silva]. Before then it wasn’t a problem, before Bernardo scored in the top corner.

“It wasn’t an issue until our heads went for a little while, so we’ve got to control our emotions more. And we have, we have learned. So that’s an experience we’ll bring into this game, definitely.”

United are unbeaten in nine games after Thursday’s 3-0 win at Derby County in the FA Cup, and face a team who have won their past five matches.

“They’ll feel confident,” Solskjær said of City. “They’ve hit form, they’re playing well. They’ve just been at the Bernabéu winning there [against Real Madrid], they’ve won the [Carabao] cup final, so I’m sure they’ll come confident. They’ll play their own game, we’ll play our game, and hopefully it’ll be a good one.

“Let’s hope it’s a 4-3 like we’ve seen before. There’s been many classics so we’ll do what we can to make it a classic.”

Extra day’s rest

Solskjær is unhappy at the extra day’s rest City have had after beating Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday in their fifth-round tie.

“It’s that help we get from the FA again, that extra 24 hours that they’ve had,” Solskjær said. “I cannot believe why there’s a derby on Sunday and we’ve got to play Thursday night. What’s the point in that? That doesn’t level the playing field.

“It was the same when we beat them last time [in the league] to be fair; we played Wednesday and they played Tuesday. Those 24 hours are important, so we’ve got to be good at recovering now.”

Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire face late fitness tests after being unavailable for the Derby game. The manager said of Maguire: “He rolled his ankle and twisted his ankle, but hopefully he’ll be fit.”

United are fifth, three points off fourth spot that would guarantee Champions League qualification.

“If you can get six points against City and Tottenham [on Sunday week] we will have given ourselves a good chance,” said Solskjær.

– Guardian

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