Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nicky Butt

Solskjaer: Young Reds did themselves proud

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about his young Manchester United side in glowing terms, despite our 2-1 Europa League defeat to Astana in Kazakhstan.

Dmitriy Shomko’s driven effort and an unfortunate own goal from Reds centre-back Di’Shon Bernard turned the game around for the Blue and Yellows, after Jesse Lingard had opened the scoring 10 minutes in.

Speaking to MUTV and in his press conference after the final whistle, the manager waxed lyrical about the performances of tonight’s debutants in particular and looked ahead to our final Europa League group game, against AZ Alkmaar, in two weeks’ time...

WE HAD A SUPERB START

“I’ll definitely take the positives. Of course, we’re disappointed with the end result, but I thought we started the game fantastically. The boys took control of the game and scored a fantastic goal and the response after they scored two was also good. I was disappointed with a 10-minute spell where you could feel the pressure was coming and we didn’t get on the ball like we had.

Solskjaer's verdict on the loss to AstanaVideo

IMPRESSED WITH THE DEBUTANTS

“You’ve got to put them on the pitch before you know if they’re good enough. Full debuts today from Ethan [Laird], from Di’Shon [Bernard] and from Dylan [Levitt], I thought all three of them were excellent. [The own goal] is the only time [Bernard] put a foot wrong. He didn’t even put a foot wrong then, sometimes that [an own goal] happens in football, but I thought he was excellent.”

A GREAT LEARNING EXPERIENCE

“I think some of these might benefit from going out on loan. Of course, they need men’s football and it was a first taste of it for some of them. Some of them are also knocking on the door for us. You can see the way we dominated midfield with Jimmy [Garner] and Dylan playing together and it was nice to see them dominating the game. Di’Shon was composed, Ethan was marauding down the right-hand side, particularly in the first half. Some of these have done themselves a good favour.”

IT’S BEEN A GOOD TRIP

“The group have travelled together and played together, it’s a very, very tight-knit group. It’s been excellent - the training yesterday, the lead-up to the game, the travel and everything. I’m just sorry they couldn’t go away from here with the win, because I thought they deserved to win the game.”

LOOKING AHEAD

“We want to win the AZ game as then we win the group. I think it’ll be a mixed team as some of these players played really well tonight. You’ll probably see some of them again. Of course, with a home game, it’s easier to play and with less travel, so you will see some more first-team players.”

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