Solskjaer's verdict on the defeat to Arsenal
In our interview, the manager provides his verdict on the performance and result against the Gunners...
Quite uncharacteristic from the way we have been playing of late. What was your assessment today? “Well we started off decent. I thought the first 7-10 minutes we looked like we could carve through them and score goals. We weren’t decisive enough, not precise enough with the last pass. It looked like we were at it and then after they scored it seemed like they got loads of energy. They were aggressive, they regained the ball quickly and we lost that half a yard, or two yards. We never got up to them and they never let us get up to them. I felt they played really well, and sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up as well. The boys, we’re trying, we’re getting up to them but we’re not quick enough and you saw players today with Ozil and in midfield I thought they played well.” Did their intensity almost surprise you in the first half? “No, we knew they were going to come out of the traps quickly. We took one or too many touches maybe a few times, because you could see Lacazette coming back and tackling a few times, Torreira was it, Xhaka, Aubameyang. I think Mikel has really got a reaction from his team and you expect that, because he is a new manager, but you saw in the second half that their energy died a bit and we had loads of it, but we just didn’t manage to get the goal.” How important was that second goal on the stroke of half time, because at 1-0 anything can happen? “Yeah. At 2-0 down you need the next goal to have a chance of something. At 1-0 down at any point of the game you’re back in the game, so that goal was hard to take, it was a big blow. It gave us a big mountain to climb. There’s fine margins, because the cross for the first goal goes via Victor and it changes direction into his path, a good finish by the way, and David’s save, a good save, from the header, but it then bounces off Victor’s back and changes direction and Sokratis can just have a tap in, so sometimes that little bit of luck that you need to get away with points at these places.” Even at 2-0, did you still feel that if you got a goal it would have changed things? “Yeah, definitely, because we’ve seen them against Chelsea, and if you don’t get that goal they can still hang in there, but even with 10 minutes to go you feel if that we get a goal we’ll get energy from that, but they got energy by making the blocks and stopping the crosses and saves, so it just wasn’t meant to be.” When you looked at the other results today was it slightly annoying in terms of the other teams dropping points? “Yeah, but it’s a long season and you’ve got to pick up points. Throughout the season we haven’t picked up enough. We’re still fifth, but we need to kick on. We’ve had a good December. We’ve had nine games in December and now we’re 1st of January and we’ve started again. It’s our fourth game in 11 days which is hard on the boys. You can see in the second half with the energy we had and the physicality, you can see we’re fit enough. I think maybe in the first half we were a bit tired mentally, because the way they played made it hard to win the ball off them and we got tired and maybe lost a bit of that belief. In the second half I thought they showed lots of belief but we just couldn’t get the goal.” Finally, you mentioned fitness. There is so little time. There’s big cup games coming up now. Is it a case of using your squad? “Yeah, you’ve got to use the squad. You’ve got to stick it out as well. Some of these players we don’t have replacements in every position, so some of these have got to go again. They’ve had, as I said, some of them have played many games and loads of minutes. We’ve tried to juggle it a little bit, today and the last few games, but we’re ready again on Saturday. Wolves, FA Cup, so it’ll be a second home for us. It’s the fourth time in 10 months and we’re looking forward to it.”