Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United will not ‘press the panic button’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United will not ‘press the panic button’

Bruno Fernandes shows his disappointment
Bruno Fernandes scored from the spot as United tried to get back into Tuesday’s game at RB Leipzig

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United will not “press the panic button” just because they were knocked out of the Champions League.

The 3-2 defeat at RB Leipzig on Tuesday extended United’s poor recent record in the competition.

It also brought more questions about Solskjaer’s ability to get the best from his squad.

United sources have continued to insist the club is fully behind their manager and the forward trajectory is solid.

But it is not a message that has gone down well with some fans, who feel a change is required.

United’s hierarchy rejects that view completely and the message of stability was reinforced by Solskjaer as he looked ahead to an Old Trafford encounter with Manchester City on Saturday.

“It is important not to press the panic button every time because in football you cannot win every single game,” he said.

“There are games you lose that hurt more than others and some losses have more consequence than others.

“We have handled setbacks quite well and the reality is we are out of the Champions League for the rest of the season. We have to move on and get back into it.”

Anthony Martial will return to the United squad after missing the trip to Germany through injury, although fellow striker Edinson Cavani remains a doubt.

Solskjaer was also supportive of goalkeeper David de Gea, who was criticised by former United midfielder Paul Scholes for his part in RB Leipzig’s decisive third goal on Tuesday.

And the United manager avoided answering a question about Paul Pogba, whose agent Mino Raiola said the France midfielder wants to leave the club in an interview that was published on the eve of the Leipzig defeat.

“I speak to my players on daily basis and Paul Pogba is no different,” said Solskjaer when asked if the paid had spoken in the aftermath of the Champions League exit.

“Whatever anyone’s representatives say can’t affect me. I have said all I want to about that.”

Solskjaer is ‘strong enough’ – Guardiola

Manchester United won three of the four meetings between the sides last season including doing the Premier League double over their neighbours for the first time in a decade.

But City manager Pep Guardiola insists the result of Saturday’s game will not define either club’s season

“It is not a knockout game, it is three more points,” he said. “That is important, of course, for the quality of the opponent, but there are a lot of fixtures to come and we will try to win our games.”

Guardiola also expects his opposite number to handle the scrutiny.

He added: “I don’t have to give him support because he is strong enough and knows how this job works. [People say] when we win we are a genius and when we lose we have to be sacked.

“It happens at United and all around the world, it is a reality.”

On 19 December it will be two years since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho as boss.

Although there are plenty of observers who say they still cannot see a coherent plan from a side that has gone behind in eight out of 10 Premier League matches this season, the Norwegian disagrees.

“I feel we are getting better and better and looking more like the Manchester United team I want,” he said.

“We have fast, dynamic attackers and good players with individual qualities. Everyone says we don’t have consistency but we have won the last four in the league, so hopefully we can carry that on.”

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