The Red Devils came away with the three points in a top-four tussle thanks to an own goal off Scott McTominay’s header early in the second half
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joked that Manchester United like to make games harder for themselves after they snatched a slender victory against West Ham at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Red Devils came away with the three points in a top-four tussle thanks to Liam Dawson’s own goal off Scott McTominay’s header early into the second half, to lift them back into second above Leicester at the expense of old manager David Moyes.
With a pair of crunch clash knockout games to come in the next week – including a Europa League last-16 second leg with Milan and a FA Cup quarter-final tie with the Foxes – Solskjaer admitted that he had hoped to claim a bigger margin of victory but was nevertheless pleased with his side’s result.
What has Solskjaer said?
“As expected, they are always going to make it hard for you,” the Norwegian told Sky Sports after the game. “We could have been more comfortable towards the end as we had a few decent chances to finish it off. We like to make it hard for ourselves!
“It’s about not giving them turnovers all the time. In the first 15 minutes, we gave the ball away every time we attacked. You have to not open up stupidly as you know [West Ham] are a threat on the counter-attack so we kept composed and organised.
“We created massive opportunities but the final pass or shot wasn’t good enough. We could have [scored] two or three easily. But then it could have ended up in our net at the end as they are a threat.
“We know West Ham are challenging to get in the top four so it was a big result and we kept a clean sheet again. The experience and confidence will come. [It’s a] big week – Europa League and FA Cup – so we’re looking forward to it. Hopefully [we’ll] get a few players back and put a good performance in.”
The bigger picture
With Manchester City’s win over Fulham this weekend, the title race is all but over for United, who nevertheless are on course to nab a second-place finish.
But having missed out on a shot at the Carabao Cup final against Pep Guardiola’s side earlier this year, they will be even more driven to compete for remaining silverware at home and abroad.
Their second leg clash with Milan in midweek will be a tougher task than hoped for after the Serie A side seized a vital away goal with effectively the last play of the game at Old Trafford earlier this month.
Three days later, they will look to seal a semi-final berth in domestic competition too when they face off with Leicester, very much their main rivals for the runners-up spot in the Premier League too.