Ole Gunnar Solskjær has denied Manchester United's terrible home form is due to a mental barrier after Arsenal's 1-0 win made it three defeats and one draw from their four Premier League games there this season.
While the Gunners’ first three points at Old Trafford in 14 years came from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 69th-minute penalty, Solskjær’s team have also lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace and 6-1 to Tottenham while drawing 0-0 with Chelsea at home. United have only seven points from six matches.
“I don’t think it’s a mental thing,” Solskjaer said. “Home and away form is out the window with no fans in the stadium. You can’t look at that. It doesn’t really mean too much. We played fantastic on Wednesday [beating RB Leipzig 5-0] and now we lose. But we need to get points on the board. Now we need to focus on next week and Everton.”
Solskjær did, however, admit that United were not switched on. “We weren’t at the races,” the Norwegian said. “We were too sloppy, too many passes went astray and the rotation was not there. Sometimes you are playing against good teams and today it was a soft penalty – it had 0-0 written all over the game [before this].”
Paul Pogba conceded the spot-kick for an ill-judged lunge that he admitted was "stupid" as Hector Bellerín was moving away from goal.
“He needs to stay on his feet. Paul knows it’s a soft penalty to give away similar to Nemanja [Matic] who almost got a penalty,” Solskjær said, referring to when the midfielder had a second half coming together with the Arsenal centre-back Gabriel.
Pogba was remorseful. “We know it’s a poor performance. Myself, I cannot give a foul away like this,” he said.
“I thought I would touch the ball but I didn’t. I cost us the goal today with the penalty. Like I say, details. We have to do better, the team, myself, it starts with me.
“I felt like I touched him a bit, I knew I was in the box, I shouldn’t have given a penalty away like that – maybe I was a bit out of breath, it made me do this stupid mistake. I will learn from that, I’m not the best defensively in the box, I can work on that.
“We also need to do more with the ball creating chances. We didn’t expect to be man for man, but after this we can adapt, we have to find a solution but we didn’t.
“That’s why we weren’t dangerous with the ball. The team performance needs to be a lot better.”