Solskjaer in unusual rant over match ball as he defends sloppy Man Utd
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer complained about the challenging conditions and a questionable Europa League match ball as he witnessed his Manchester United side labour to a 1-1 Europa League draw against Club Brugge.
With little time to recover from Monday’s Premier League win at Chelsea, the Reds crossed the Channel to take on the Belgian leaders on a wet and windy night in Bruges.
Emmanuel Dennis got Club Brugge off to a dream start after catching the normally-dependable Sergio Romero well out of position, but Anthony Martial capitalised on an error to silence the tired Jan Breydelstadion and seal a 1-1 draw.
That away goal means United have the upper hand heading back to Old Trafford for the second leg of this last-32 tie, leaving Solskjaer pleased on the whole and talking up the performance of Martial.
“It was a difficult game against a well-organised team in difficult conditions,” he said. “I don’t think it was one of the best games that anyone’s seen.
“A bit sloppy concentration-wise, but the conditions with the pitch and the ball makes it hard.
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“I think you can ask any of the players. That ball doesn’t help anyone play football.
“We needed to make everyone part of the squad (so I made changes), gave them games.
“We’ve got so many games now, so we got an away goal, we got a draw. We go home next week so hopefully we can finish the job.”
Solskjaer hopes for better football from his side next Thursday – and in an ideal world a better ball.
Japanese manufacturer Molten provides the match balls in the Europa League and the United boss was not overly pleased with it on Thursday.
“It’s just different and difficult to play with,” Solskjaer said. “You can get one and try!
“But it’s the same for the two teams, of course. But the conditions weren’t nice, the wind and the rain.
“But anyway, strange goals for both teams. Their throw-in we scored from and a long kick straight through the middle, so lack of concentration probably from both teams there.”
Thankfully Martial was concentrating when Brandon Mechele inexplicably allowed Maxim De Cuyper’s thrown-in to drop, with the United forward showing pace and strength to race through before beating former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
“It was a good goal today,” Solskjaer said. “He wasn’t really in the game before he scored the goal.
“We didn’t create enough, or we didn’t make enough runs in behind to create space for Anthony and it was a frustrating night for him until then.
“Then (a) good goal and then he gets a good chance with his left foot, good strike, good save by Mignolet.”