The Norwegian is not worried about the Red Devils falling too far behind their rivals just yet, despite another disappointing result at the weekend
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that being ninth in the Premier League after 14 fixtures is not Manchester United’s “biggest concern”, with consistency still eluding his side at the start of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Red Devils dropped more valuable points when Aston Villa arrived at Old Trafford on Sunday, yet again failing to hold on for victory after getting into a winning position.
Jack Grealish opened the scoring early on for the visitors with a brilliant individual effort, but United got themselves back into the game via a Tom Heaton own goal just before half-time.
Victor Lindelof’s 64th-minute header completed a turnaround for Solskjaer’s men, only for Tyrone Mings to level the scores once again after capitalising on some lackadaisical defending from the home side.
Villa ultimately held on for a 2-2 draw, compounding a miserable week for United which also included a 3-3 draw against Sheffield United and a 2-1 defeat to Astana in the Europa League.
The Red Devils are eight points behind Chelsea in the race for the final Champions League spot, with Tottenham up next on Wednesday before a huge showdown against Manchester City three days later.
Solskjaer is not worried about his team’s recent slide down the Premier League table, however, with it his belief that a mini-run of victories could completely change the complexion of their season.
“I wouldn’t have sat here and talked about being fifth if we got that one goal extra,” he told a post-match press conference. “The league table is not the biggest concern at this point, because it’s so tight.
“I just need to make sure we get performances and get three or four performances after each other – and results.
“What I can say so far is we’ve had the lead in so many games and not been able to win those games.
“Six or seven times, I’m sure, we’ve been 1-0 or 2-1 or 3-2 up. And we should be better at seeing those games into wins.”
Solskjaer added on the fine margins going against United at the moment: “I think there’s loads of evidence these boys are closer to winning games than losing games and to tip them margins in our favour. We’ve got to work on different things today.
“First half wasn’t good enough, disappointed in that because all the boys stayed here, while the young boys and us went over to Kazakhstan.
“So we should have been coming out of the traps quicker. First half wasn’t good enough, second half was what we want to see.”
The Norwegian boss has been tipped to strengthen his squad when the January transfer window opens, with some suggestion that an extra midfielder is needed to add a new creative dimension to the starting XI.
Grealish is among those being linked with a move to Old Trafford next year, and he delivered a perfect audition against his potential suitors at the weekend.
When asked if United will target the Villa talisman when the market reopens, Solskjaer responded: “I can’t talk too much about other teams’ players, if they’re Man Utd calibre or targets.
“But fantastic goal, I think he hit one of the corners I hit a couple of times. It was a great finish, but we should defend better, show him down the left.
“But what a goal and he played a good game.”