UNDER-21S

"When you play that well and create chances, you have to take them. That’s the lesson they have to learn from tonight – that you have to kill the games off when you can."

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
03/10/2008 08:56, Report by Steve Bartram

Harsh lesson for Reserves

United’s Reserves were taught a simple lesson in Thursday evening’s defeat to Wigan Athletic – kill games off when you have the chance.

Having dominated the early exchanges without making a breakthrough, United fell behind but then looked set to push on after David Gray’s 80th-minute equaliser. Although Cameron Stewart struck the bar, Wigan broke away a minute later to steal the points.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a habit of taking chances as a player, and he wants his side to live by that mantra after seeing the Latics snatch an unlikely victory.

“In games like this when you play that well and create chances, you have to take the chances,” Ole told MUTV after the match. “That’s the lesson they have to learn from tonight – that you have to kill the games off when you can.

“When they scored I think our lads changed their approach a bit. They tried to do things they shouldn’t do and we didn’t keep playing the way we wanted to. That’s a learning curve, it’s nothing but education if you take the right lessons from it.”

Having drawn level through Gray’s header, United piled forward in search of victory. Had Stewart’s cross-shot been hit a millimetre lower, the Reds would surely have taken the spoils. As it was, Wigan’s breakaway winner came from the resultant corner, but Solskjaer was unperturbed by the late loss.

“That’s our game – we wanted to go and win the game,” he said. “We didn’t want to settle for a draw, then they counter-attacked and scored a good goal. That’s just the way it goes. They were disappointed in there, but they’ll pick themselves up next game.

“You have to pick yourself up. Your only response is to play well in the next game. We’re just developing players here and they have to learn from this. Next week we play Bolton again, luckily we don’t have to wait two weeks for the next game.”