Manchester United have suffered their fair share of shock defeats this campaign alone. However, none were perhaps more humbling than losing to bottom-table side Watford 2-0 Sunday. Addressing the media following the embarrassing loss at Vicarage Road, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accused his men of playing at a “testimonial pace,” along with acknowledging more of the team’s developmental concerns.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Solskjær, via MUTV. “You have to come to these stadiums and get more points, but there was no intent or urgency to make us win this game. The first half it could easily have been my testimonial. It was very subdued, slow, no tempo, and in the end we gave them two goals.”
A de Gea Howler Put Watford up 1-0 Sunday
Keeper David de Gea rarely misses, but on Sunday the Spaniard put the hosts up first after he allowed Ismaïla Sarr’s shot to slip through his hands in the second half.
De Gea was visibly distraught afterwards, lying face down on the pitch and in no hurry to reassume his position. Solskjaer, in his remarks, did not verbally chastise the 29-year-old.
“He might have been thinking about where he was going to go from there because one of the things we are looking for now is that, when he catches it, we are looking to go quickly forward,” Solskjaer explained. “Maybe he was thinking about the next action.”
Left back Luke Shaw followed up Solskjaer’s comments with his own words of encouragement for his colleague.
“David has saved us so many times in so many different matches over the years he has been here,” Shaw asserted. “There is no way you can point any blame at him at all.
“He is a world-class goalkeeper and I am sure he will pick himself up.
“I am sure all of the lads will be around him. David is David. He is always happy so hopefully he can stay happy and focus on the game on Boxing Day.”
The Red Devils host Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Paul Pogba, who has been missing from the pitch since United’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal September 30, finally made his triumphant return on Sunday after coming off the bench in the second half. The Frenchman’s impact was immediately felt, with Pogs looking more like himself playing the role of attacking midfielder.
It appears Solskjaer liked what he saw, the Norwegian went on to give the 2018 World Cup winner an immense compliment.
“He can play anywhere, he can play the whole midfield, he is a box-to-box midfielder. He can drop deep, get it and play them long passes. He can get higher up and combine like he did on Sunday.
“It depends on the game. That’s the beauty of having Paul because he is the best all-round midfielder in the world, he can do all the roles. It’s great to have him back.”
Solskjaer affirmed that Pogba was not for sale when the January transfer window opens on New Year’s Day. As fans of football know all too well, anything can happen at any given time from January 1 to the 31.