Man Utd: Solskjaer responds to European Super League news
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Harry Maguire after he was overheard swearing at Fred in the club’s goalless draw with Leeds on Sunday. The Red Devils went into the game at Elland Road looking to boost their chances of finishing second in the Premier League table. However, that didn’t happen with Marco Bielsa’s side instead holding them to a draw.
Solskjaer said before the match against Leeds that it ‘definitely wouldn’t be goalless’.
However, the Norwegian got it wrong with both teams producing a flat and lacklustre display on the day.
United missed out on the chance to close the gap on Manchester City and, as the match wore on, tempers started to flare up.
Maguire could be overheard swearing at Fred amid the heat of the battle, with the Brazil international regularly giving the ball away.
He called the Samba star a ‘f****** idiot’ during a stoppage.
However, Solskjaer has now defended his skipper – and admits he wants his players to challenge each other in order to improve.
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“We have got a group that demands a lot of each other,” Solskjaer said of the incident.
“The standard is high, both in training and the game.
“It’s not just about being a nice guy and cajoling. We demand maximum effort.
“I was really proud in the second half how strong we looked, how we dominated the possession, the regains, how quickly we won the ball back and never felt they threatened our goal in the second half.”
While a draw wasn’t the perfect result for United, it did extend their unbeaten run away from home.
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The Red Devils haven’t lost in their last 24 Premier League away games and, now, are two matches away from going the season unbeaten on the road.
Next up for United is Aston Villa, with the club then facing Wolves in their final game of the campaign.
And Solskjaer, while acknowledging the lack of supporters allowed inside stadiums because of the coronavirus crisis, thinks it’s an impressive achievement nonetheless.
“It’s a good achievement, no matter if there are fans or no fans,” said the 48-year-old.
“Twenty-three or 24 games without defeat.
“I think the players have prepared well for these games, we travel, the work by the coaches every game is really good, is planned down to a tee and I’ve got to say we hope it continues.
“Because we’ve got big games coming up and we want to take as many points as possible.”
Solskjaer also believes United played well, despite pundits in the Sky Sports studio and fans on social media saying otherwise.
“I’ve not seen many teams in the second half dominate as much as we did against Leeds, because they are so fit and strong,” he said.
“The intensity of their game has been so good, they steamroll teams, but I felt we almost did that to them second half.
“I really liked what I saw out there, we dominated and played in their half.
“We kept them away from our goal, away from our half really, so I’m really happy about that.”
Before the match, a group of United fans arranged for a plane to be flown over the ground taking aim at the Glazers.
But he insisted he and his players didn’t see it, adding: “I’m really happy with the boys’ focus.
“They have such a determination to finish the season strong.
“So we’re very focused to do well against Roma [in the Europa League] and then we’ve got Liverpool in between, so I’m not worried about that at all.”
Next up for United is Roma in the Europa League on Thursday night.
And they’ll be looking to win the first leg as they hunt a first trophy since 2017, back when Jose Mourinho ruled the Old Trafford roost.
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