Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried to strike a balance between tactical and personnel criticism following a historic 6-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday.
He also tore into Erik Lamela for his reaction to an Anthony Martial slap that left United with 10 men down a goal and a man with 62 minutes to play.
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United was clobbered, overrun in the midfield, and out-of-sorts even before Martial was sent off. Solskjaer knows that, but also this:
“I hold my hand up but there’s no excuse, he must be having an operation the boy, in his throat,” Solskjaer said of Lamela’s act after being struck on the chin. “The game’s not lost then and there. If that was one of my players I’d hang myself out to dry. If Anthony went down, he could’ve gone out there other way but you don’t react like that.”
But Solskjaer admitted he is concerned about his players, too, especially in how they reacted to adversity.
At times, Solskjaer seemed to struggle to define what went wrong. Luke Shaw didn’t.
“We go 1-nil up and (then) that lack of concentration and sloppiness, then a mistake, another mistake, then even more mistakes that gave them more chances to come back into the game,” Shaw said on NBCSN. “The red card didn’t help but we switched off. A club like Manchester United shouldn’t be losing in this way and it’s kinda harsh. It’s kinda embarrassing because we let a lot of people watching at home down.”
[ MORE: Recapping the chaotic first half ]
Solskjaer could’ve taken that approach, too, but he also wants chairman Ed Woodward to make some magic happen on transfer deadline day Monday.
He was asked about United being linked with attackers when they’re struggling in defense.
You can watch our special transfer deadline day show on Oct. 5 from 4-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN as our analysts break down all of the late deals and drama.