Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the greatness of Manchester City, pledging that his Red Devils’ latest cup disappointment should be viewed as glass half-full.
United’s visiting city rivals knocked them out of the League Cup via a 2-0 League Cup semifinal on Wednesday at Old Trafford, the Red Devils losing at the semifinal stage for the fourth time in five tournaments (The fifth was December’s exit from the Champions League group stage).
“I think when you lose a semi-final and when you lose against an opponent, you think they deserved it,” Solskjaer said via The Manchester Evening News. “But we’re getting closer. This is a much better version of Man United than a year ago, in those semis. So that’s positive but it’s not enough.”
Solskjaer insisted that there’s nothing to be read into losing semifinals, that United has not gone from serial trophy-winner to having some sort of semifinal roadblock in its DNA.
“It’s not psychological,” he said. “It’s just sometimes you meet good teams in the semis and we just didn’t have enough. We met, at the moment, probably the best team in England and we just didn’t have enough today.”
It was United’s second-straight League Cup semifinal exit at the hands of City. The Red Devils weren’t terrible but their finishing boots were nowhere to be found and service from the wings did them in again.
The Red Devils are undoubtedly improved but so is City’s defense. We’ll see what happens when United meets Liverpool for first place on the PL table on Jan. 17.
United meets Burnley in a rearranged Week 1 match on Tuesday and could be atop the table before it heads to Anfield.