Solskjaer praises United comeback but rues slow start

‘Can they come back if they go one or two down? I’m very happy with the response’

Ole Gunnar Solskajer talks to assistant Mike Phelan during Man United’s 2-2 draw with Burnley. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty

Ole Gunnar Solskajer talks to assistant Mike Phelan during Man United’s 2-2 draw with Burnley. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Manchester United proved a point about their battling qualities after a stirring fightback in a 2-2 draw against Burnley at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer had overseen eight consecutive victories since taking interim charge last month although the honeymoon period looked to be coming to an end when Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood gave the Clarets a shock 2-0 lead.

It was the first time United had trailed under Solskjaer but his unbeaten record would remain in tact as Paul Pogba’s 87th-minute penalty and Victor’s Lindelof’s strike in time added-on rescued a 2-2 draw.

The Norwegian was not entirely satisfied with the stalemate but said: “The way they came back was fantastic, so of course you’re happy with the point.

“Then again we could have got three. We just ran out of time towards the end and we started too late with the urgency that we needed, that’s a learning curve.

“But now you’ve got your answer: can they come back if they go one or two down? I’m very happy with the response.”

United lacked the usual sparkle that has been a hallmark of the Solskjaer era so far, which was not lost on the former United striker, who made five changes to the team that overcame Arsenal in the FA Cup last Friday.

Solskjaer suggested their red-hot form under his stewardship might have had a negative impact on their mentality ahead of their fixture with Tuesday night’s opponents.

The Red Devils dominated possession but failed to create many clear cut openings in the first half while a mixture of poor finishing and some fine saves from Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton frustrated the hosts throughout.

Solskjaer added: “The danger of winning might be that you think that what we’ve done before helps or gives us the right to start off on 90 per cent because we’re winning one or two nil.

“But you have to start properly in each game and we didn’t start off well enough to cause Burnley enough problems.

Paul Pogba scored Man United’s opener from the spot. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Paul Pogba scored Man United’s opener from the spot. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

“We know they’re well organised, we know they’re happy if we keep crossing the ball so we needed more tempo and more urgency in the play and play our way into the box more.

“In the second half at times I thought we did fantastic in that respect but Tom (Heaton) is a good keeper and they headed the ball away when we crossed it. But we found a way in the end.”

United’s evening ended on a possible sour note as midfielder Pogba was seen limping through the mixed zone after appearing to take a knock.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche was left puzzled by the five minutes of time added on and thought the announcement vitalised a crowd accustomed to late goals and thrilling finishes under Alex Ferguson.

Victor Lindelof struck in the second minute of time added on — a goal that Dyche believes should have been chalked off for offside in the build-up.

Dyche said: “I have no clue where a mystery five minutes came from, I don’t think anyone in the stadium did, everyone in the stadium had a gasp as to where the five minutes has come from.

“Every minute counts at that stage of the game, you see what happened and how late the goals are. In these parts for the history of this club, when five minutes goes up, everyone believes.

“I asked the officials and they didn’t give me a very valid reason. They seemed to come from somewhere.

“And then if you look at the margins, I think you’ll find when (Alexis) Sanchez wins the header, Lindelof is marginally offside and, as it comes off the keeper, he finishes it. That’s a nice debate for everyone, at least.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.