Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Soslkjaer knows that his Liverpool counterpart has conceded its role in the title race, but a disappointing 1-1 draw at bottom-three West Bromwich Albion on Sunday won’t find Solskjaer dismissing his men’s willingness to push cross-city rivals Manchester City for the crown.
Meanwhile, Harry Maguire is getting properly defensive about his team’s defending after a West Brom’s controversial opener.
The draw was a proper push-and-pull that could’ve easily gone either way despite the 19th-place status of the hosts, and United’s point moves it back into second place.
[ MORE: Three things from West Brom – Man Utd ]
But that also leaves them seven back of Man City, who has played one fewer match than United. The Manchester Derby rivals meet March 6 at the Etihad Stadium.
Solskjaer was pressed on United’s space in the title race on television after the game, and here are his responses put together.
“I said we shouldn’t be talked about because 15 games ago you didn’t expect us to be,” Solskjaer said. “It was a compliment for the boys who got into position we are now. We’re the team closest. We should be challenging the team in front of us. We’re not going to let them run away with it. We’re playing them soon. We’re not giving it away early, no we’re not.”
Magure is not quitting on the title fight, either.
The Man United captain can’t explain why his team couldn’t get the job done versus West Brom (but also: apparently he hasn’t seen a West Brom game this year).
“We’ve gotta look ourselves, go again and win the next one and then the next one,” Maguire said. “Man City is on a great run at the moment. They’ve created a points gap but we’ve gotta fight for every game. We came here in a good mood, good confidence, good preparation. When you’re playing such a deep block, you’re never going to come here and create 10 chances. When they come, we’ve gotta take them, and going a goal behind we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.”
West Brom kept the shot attempts down against Spurs last time out but entered the day allowing a league-high 15.8 per game. Manchester United took 10.
That said, Maguire also feels that Mbaye Diagne’s goal included a foul on Victor Lindelof. Plenty of neutrals will agree.
Here’s what he told MUTV:
Maguire: "I’m fed up of hearing Vic can do better, I’m fed up hearing David can do better on the cross, it’s a foul from Billy Sharp on David, if a big striker is wrestling Vic and puts his arms all over him of course he can do better but it’s a foul." #mufc
— Tyrone Marshall (@TyMarshall_MEN) February 14, 2021
FYI: Chief of Maguire’s other people = Jurgen Klopp.
He also told the United site that, “Ever since other people from other teams spoke about us we’ve had absolutely nothing from the referee or VAR. At the moment we’re playing without them so we’ve got to make sure we’re not leaving the game in the hands of the referee or the VAR.”
For what it’s worth, Solskjaer says he believes a play like that should be called a goal… but it wasn’t just a few weeks ago when the shoe was on the other foot.
“As an ex-striker I would say that’s a goal but if we go back a couple of months, we had Harry go on top of a defender, clearly no foul, and that was taken away from us,” Solskjaer said. “Where’s the consistency? I don’t think there is any. I’m not saying that’s a foul.”
United cannot take any more stepbacks in the top four race, especially as the Europa League on Thursdays begin to contest their calendar again.