United Briefing: Solskjaer's mean machine

Monday 15 March 2021 08:00

Manchester United are becoming a mean machine after keeping a fourth consecutive clean sheet in the Premier League in the 1-0 win against West Ham at Old Trafford.

It is the first time since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took control of the reins back in December 2018 that we’ve recorded such a run of shut-outs at the back in the league.

The stubborn sequence began at the end of February at Stamford Bridge, when the Reds drew 0-0 with Chelsea. A second stalemate in London followed at Crystal Palace. Then came the stunning 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium against City in the Manchester derby.

Luke Shaw has been key to United's defensive solidity.

Three away clean sheets became four in a row, at Old Trafford against the Hammers in our 1-0 success that regained second spot in the Premier League.

It is a platform that Solskjaer believes will reap its rewards and he paid tribute to his coaching staff for setting down the defensive rules that the players have responded to, with only AC Milan's Simon Kjaer breaching our backline in the last six outings.

“We have had four clean sheets now in the league, straight up and that is always a foundation,” the boss told reporters.

“You have to defend well to keep clean sheets in the Premier League. We have also scored more goals this season than last season, so we are improving as an attacking team as well.

“But the attitude of everyone doing the work that Kieran [McKenna] and Michael [Carrick] are doing, the work on the training ground and in the meeting rooms is absolutely spot on.

“The details the coaches give the players, they listen, they look. We want to attack teams and attack them by defending really high, we want to be on the front foot defensively.

“It takes a lot of energy to do that but modern football requires that.”

Keeping the Hammers out took a monumental physical effort but Solskjaer kept the same XI on the pitch throughout, the first time we've done this in the Premier League since February 2012 in a 2-1 win over Liverpool..

“I didn’t feel the need today to take them off because I felt every single one did a job defensively,” he said.

Ole's post-match press conference Video

Ole's post-match press conference

Ole is quizzed on the win, Luke Shaw, Mason Greenwood, contract rumours and clean sheets...


The Reds will be doing our recovery work after Sunday's exertions and the focus will quickly start to turn to the midweek flight to Italy for Thursday's Europa League second leg against AC Milan.

Of course, we'll continue to reflect on the win over West Ham - look out for the usual features like Tunnel Insider and the Match Quiz.

We will find out if Shola Shoretire has won the Premier League 2 Player of the Month award, after he was shortlisted for the prize. 

It's happy birthday to Paul Pogba too, as our midfielder turns 28 today.

Highlights: United 1 West Ham 0 Video

Highlights: United 1 West Ham 0

Watch the main moments from our dominant display against the Hammers...


United's 1-0 victory over West Ham was the main focus of our weekend, and it took the Reds back up to second in the table, with other top-four contenders Everton, Tottenham and Chelsea all dropping points.

Thursday's Europa League rivals AC Milan were also in action, suffering a damaging 1-0 home defeat to Napoli, to lose ground on Serie A title rivals Internazionale. Ante Rebic was back from injury but picked up a red card in the closing stages, which will not affect his availability for the second leg.

We published the second part of our fan Q&A with Ole, who has also suggested up to five Reds could return for the flight to Italy.