Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hails team’s reaction at start of ‘massive week’

Red Devils defeated West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday and face AC Milan and Leicester in cup competitions in the coming days

Simon Peach
Monday 15 March 2021 08:14
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Man United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with midfielder Bruno Ferandes
Man United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with midfielder Bruno Ferandes

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised his players for kickstarting a “massive” week by defeating top-four hopefuls West Ham in the Premier League.

Having earned a somewhat surprising victory at runaway leaders Man City in their last top-flight game, United edged past the Hammers on Sunday thanks to a Craig Dawson own goal at Old Trafford.

The 1-0 win came at an important time for United, who travel to Italy on Thursday for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash with AC Milan before visiting Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

The result also means United will return to Premier League action in April second in the standings, with Solskjaer impressed by his side’s response to the late setback against Milan.

“It’s been a big week for us,” Solskjaer said, reflecting on the 2-0 win at City and 1-1 draw with the Rossoneri before overcoming West Ham.

“The last few league games, big games near the top of the league and we’re starting to build some momentum in the league. Of course now we opened the gap further to West Ham, which was important for us.

“We want to improve on last season. We want to get to a final, we want to move up the table.

“This week was always going to be massive. The reaction after the disappointment of the late equaliser Milan scored was really good because you never know how that can affect you.

Man United players celebrate during their win against West Ham

“I thought it looked like everyone wanted to show what they could do in the first 15-20 minutes – maybe a little bit too eager, lacked a bit of composure. Attitude was spot on, though, and then we got the composure, we built more and more pressure and momentum.”

The impressive Mason Greenwood twice hit the post on Sunday and Marcus Rashford had a great chance to score having made a surprisingly swift return from an ankle issue sustained at City.

While Solskjaer now looks ahead to the Europa League and FA Cup ties, David Moyes has a week to reflect on a frustrating Old Trafford defeat before West Ham host Arsenal in the Premier League.

“I don’t know about [this being a] missed opportunity, but what it is was a chance for us to pick up three points, which we didn’t do tonight,” the former Old Trafford boss said.

“Overall I don’t think we did enough to earn it. Overall I wasn’t convinced with the performance tonight.”

Asked if West Ham could have taken something away from the game if they had shown the kind of adventure displayed after conceding, Moyes said: “Yeah, you could be right. But once Man United got the one goal, they were quite happy to sit in and wait on us attacking.

“We made some changes, we got a little bit better as the game went on. Parts of [the game plan] we did okay but not so well, so I was disappointed with quite a lot of aspects and that’s why we made the changes.”

PA

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