Solskjaer: First half the worst Man Utd have played

By Sports Desk January 07, 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Manchester United's first half against Manchester City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday was the worst they have played this season.

City dominated the first leg of the semi-final at Old Trafford, where Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez scored before Andreas Pereira's own goal.

Marcus Rashford struck in the second half for United, to give them a glimmer of hope heading to the Etihad Stadium on January 29 despite the 3-1 loss.

Solskjaer was unhappy with the way his side started, lamenting their first half – particularly after Silva's fine 17th-minute opener.

"From their goal until half-time it's the worst we've played," he told a news conference.

"Before then, it could've gone either way, a goal, but that doesn't matter now.

"We've just got to focus on Saturday, Norwich [City]. After that second half we've got something that we can believe in."

Solskjaer said his message to his players was clear after they trailed 3-0 at half-time and looked in danger of being thrashed.

"Pride is one word that you speak about at half-time," he said.

"Make sure you win the second half and you're in the tie and of course it's a difficult task that we've got in front of us.

"But that second half at least gave us something to hang onto."

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    "In the heat of the moment people are allowed to air their frustration and be angry for a second or two, but then it's over and done with, because it's just for the benefit of the team," Solskjaer said. 

    "If it lingers on that's a different scenario. I've been in a team and I like a team that has that inner justice where it's not just the managers and the coaches that shout. 

    "I want players to take responsibility and put other players into their places at times when it’s necessary. They're out there fighting for one cause and that's for the team to win.

    "The players have reacted really well [to Fernandes], we see different kinds of leadership, some lead by example, some lead by both, once in a while you just have to take a rollicking when you deserve one.

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    Fernandes scored a brace against Istanbul Basaksehir in midweek to keep United well on course for a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

    Solskjaer's United have struggled for any sort of consistency in the Premier League, however, and find themselves down in 13th position – eight points off the pace – ahead of Sunday's trip to Southampton.

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