Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Manchester United didn’t deserve to win after Southampton grabbed a last-minute equalizer to draw 2-2 at Old Trafford.
Southampton’s equalizer in the sixth minute of added time cost them the chance to leapfrog Chelsea and Leicester into third place in the Premier League. United stay fifth as a result of Michael Obafemi’s scrambled late effort from a James Ward-Prowse corner and though Solskjær described it as the worst possible time to concede a goal he conceded his team had not played as well as he had hoped. “We never got the rhythm in our passing that we wanted,” the United manager said. “We thought we had three points in the bag but we possibly didn’t deserve to win. We played some fantastic football at times, but football is decided by key moments in games. You are not going to be given three points at this level; you have to work for them against a good side like Southampton. We’re disappointed, but that’s how it is. I thought we defended well until that last corner.”
Solskjaer had fielded the same starting XI for the fifth consecutive league game, and he was forced to patch up his team in the second half with Luke Shaw sustaining an ankle injury. His replacement Williams then collided with Kyle Walker-Peters, and Solskjaer said at his post-match press conference: “Luke twisted his ankle. Hopefully, we can have some good news on him after we’ve done a scan.” In a separate interview with MUTV, Solskjaer added on Williams: “I can’t say [really], I’ve not seen Brandon because he was with the medical staff and I think he was getting some stitches with a gash over his eye. So let’s see how he is.” Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl said he was pleased his side had enjoyed 52% of possession at Old Trafford, but pointed out that possession alone does not win games or bring about success. “We really deserved this point, because we started very well and took the lead, and apart from allowing United back into the game with their two goals we got back into the game before half-time.”
Obafemi, the hero of the hour, was sent on as a substitute in the 87th minute and managed to force the ball over the United line with virtually the last kick of the game. “The boss told me what he wanted me to do, be ready at the back post for a set piece,” he said. “I managed to score but that’s what I’m here to do. It was a team performance really, the boys did well to dig deep and get back into the game.” Solskjaer was under pressure at the beginning of the campaign, but the January arrival of Bruno Fernandes has helped the former United striker turn things around. Although yesterday’s result piles on more pressure onto him for the tight top four race with tricky games to follow. Will Manchester United make it?