Ole reaction: We need to improve quickly

Saturday 19 September 2020 20:10

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels his Manchester United players were short of match sharpness in Saturday’s Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace and says “we need to improve quickly”.

The Reds only played one pre-season friendly ahead of the Old Trafford outing and that was in stark contrast to an Eagles side that contested four warm-up games, as well as two competitive outings. 

Roy Hodgson’s men looked fitter from the start and took a first-half lead through Andros Townsend, before Wilf Zaha made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after a controversial VAR decision. Donny van de Beek scored on his debut soon after, but any hope of a comeback was ended by Zaha’s second.

While the different levels of fitness clearly played a part, as well as that debatable penalty decision, Solskjaer is not making excuses and admits this is a “wake-up call” for his squad. 

Read what the manager had to say in our post-match interview…
Ole: This is a wake-up call Video

Ole: This is a wake-up call

The boss says there is no room for excuses, after a tough opening-day defeat...

Ole, that obviously wasn’t the start you wanted. What’s your view of that?
“I am very disappointed. I think it shows that we are short. We are short in game-time, fitness, sharpness and we need to improve quickly. These were three points that we wanted and we needed. There are 37 games to go, but this is a wake-up call. But it is also something that we knew we had to face when we went so far into Europe. We had a short preparation time, but that is the reality so there are no excuses.”
They had played six games before this one, so did that have an impact on our sharpness?
“Yeah, of course. You could see they were sharp, they were strong, they have really drilled the system, so they were exactly what we thought they were going to be. I was hoping and thinking we were going to be better than we were.”

Sorry to bring up VAR in the first game of the season, but the penalty looked harsh…
“For me it is not a penalty, it is very harsh. Then it is a great save by David and then a very harsh decision against him. It is probably the right one if you follow the rules, because his foot is probably one inch off the line, with his heel, but who knows what would have happened. That is not the decision that lost us the game.”
Donny van de Beek came on and made a difference, so you must be pleased with that?
“Yeah, he has a great attitude and energy, one of the better ones I know for finding space and sniffing out space. We need that because when we got round them - not often enough - and put crosses in, there were not enough bodies in the box and he gave us that." 
Van de Beek: We played too slowly Video

Van de Beek: We played too slowly

Our new Dutchman was an immediate hit against Palace, but admitted our performance was way below par...

Obviously, it will be relentless this season with game after game, midweek after midweek, so will it just be a case of recovering and moving on?
“Yeah you have got to recover and prepare for the next one. We have got Luton on Tuesday. We will obviously need to give game time to some of the other players as well, and train with the ones who need training, and improve. The bottom line is that we have to be ready because the league has started. The season has started.”

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.