Solskjaer bemoans ‘poorest performance’ of United reign
Molineux bore witness to a famous night on Saturday as Wolves booked semi-final place
Manchester United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the FA Cup defeat to Wolves was the worst performance of his reign so far. Photo: Ben Stansall/Getty Images
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United got what they deserved as Wolves punished the worst performance of his caretaker reign and reached the FA Cup semi-finals.
Molineux bore witness to a famous night on Saturday as Nuno Espirito Santo led the club to the final four for the first time in 21 years.
Raul Jimenez’s strike on the turn and a superb solo effort from Diogo Jota put Wolves on course for victory against a ragged United side lacking the skill, verve and intensity that Solskjaer had instilled.
A late Marcus Rashford goal did nothing to lift the mood and the interim manager had no complaints about the result of this quarter-final clash.
“It was a big step backwards, I’ve got to say,” Solskjaer said. “That’s the poorest performance since I’ve come here. The lack of urgency forward, lack of forward passing, lack of regains.
“Sometimes international breaks come in handy and we would have loved to play it again and put it right.
“Hopefully some of them will have good experience with the national team, some will have a few days off and train hard here.
“Then we will be ready to push again because we’re in a great position in the league, we’re in the Champions League.
“Very disappointing tonight, though, that we’re not in the semis.”
United’s second successive defeat brought an abrupt end to Solskjaer’s honeymoon period, leading him to give his side an honest post-match appraisal.
Asked what he said to the players, the Norwegian said with a laugh: “Well, the truth. I’ve said to them not to you.
“But of course, you can’t sit down and sulk too long. Of course, we’re disappointed, everyone is disappointed, but we have got to look forward and look behind the result today.
“We’ve done that quite well. We know that we’ve played well against Arsenal last week and didn’t get what we deserved.
“Today we got what we deserved because we never deserved to win this game.”
The reversal of Victor Lindelof’s red card on the Video Assistant Referee’s advice counted for little and Wolves boss Nuno was understandably delighted after sealed a spot at Wembley.
“It means a lot, it means a lot,” the Portuguese said. “The FA Cup is the oldest competition there is.
“We played well and we achieved it with the amazing support of our fans, pushing us and believing in us.
“The noise was fantastic, so when you achieve something I see that we did it together. We did it together.
“We did it with Liverpool, with Shrewsbury. It was tough. But we have to go and prepare ourselves for the next one.”
Nuno heaped praise on goalscorers Jimenez and Jota after the match at a bouncing Molineux, where the manager is revered after leading them from the Championship and into the upper reaches of the Premier League and now an FA Cup semi-final.
“What pleases me more is as I walk down the stands there are people saying that they saw the 50s and 60s and they are still coming to the stadium,” he said.
“So, to give them back this joy and seeing our fans going out of the stadium with a smile — with a lot of beer, of course -feels good.
“Because they did their part, the noise was amazing through the game. The atmosphere was fantastic.”