Ole Gunnar Solskjaer questions the 'pride' of his Man United players

‘The first half was the worst we’ve played’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer questions the ‘pride’ of his Manchester United players after capitulation in the Carabao Cup semi-final

  • The Norwegian admitted Man United have a ‘mountain to climb’ to reach the final
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told his squad to take pride in the shirt at half-time 
  • Manchester City scored three goals in 21 minutes before the half-time break
  • Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal settled the night

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer questioned the mentality of his Manchester United stars after a first-half capitulation against bitter rivals Manchester City.

The Norwegian admitted United have a ‘mountain to climb’ if they are to reach the Carabao Cup final after going down 3-1 in last night’s first leg.

Solskjaer told his squad to take pride in the shirt during a half-time dressing down after City scored three goals in 21 minutes before the break.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer questioned the mentality of his Manchester United stars on Tuesday

Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal looked to have taken the tie away from United before Marcus Rashford later gave them a lifeline.

‘The first half, from their first goal, was the worst we’ve played,’ Solskjaer said. ‘Pride is a word you speak about at half-time.

‘It’s natural that your head goes down but we have to get back into the mentality quicker. It can’t be me at half-time.

‘Make sure you win the second half and you’re still in the tie. It’s a difficult task ahead of us. Even though it is a steep mountain to climb we can still climb it.

Bernardo Silva gave City the perfect start on Tuesday night after emphatically firing home

‘We’ve got a young team. We’re still learning. These experiences will stick. The second half gives me something to believe in.’

Former United midfielder Darren Fletcher blasted United’s central defensive pairing, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof. ‘One of the centre-backs has to be brave and engage somebody,’ he said.

‘They can’t stand there marking nobody it is absolutely killing the rest of the team.’

Guardiola warned that his City side can play better despite their first-half blitz at Old Trafford.

‘We played really good before half-time,’ Guardiola said. ‘They changed to a diamond in the second half and we struggled a bit.

It was a hugely embarrassing opening period for Victor Lindelof and Co against their rivals

‘No (it wasn’t the best performance of the season). Leicester was good, Tottenham in the second game was good. We’ve made some good games.

‘When you arrive in the semi-final, we always believed the way we play as the best weapon. We’re close to the final but many things can happen in three weeks. Celebrate it tonight but I’ve spoken to the players already that it is not over.

‘We have to be prepared if Ole plays this way (again). We were tired, which is normal. United (obviously) spoke at half-time and said “guys, we cannot accept that”.’

Guardiola referenced United’s dramatic Champions League comeback against Paris Saint-Germain last season as reason not to rest on their laurels. He added: ‘They lost to PSG last year, went to France and qualified. They are a dangerous team.’

Riyad Mahrez doubled Pep Guardiola’s side advantage at Old Trafford in the 33rd minute

In what felt like pointed remarks, the City manager thrice referenced the need for the club’s supporters to turn up to the second leg at the Etihad Stadium in their droves.

Old Trafford was not a sell out last night, with little over 69,000 inside, but Guardiola was impressed with the atmosphere generated.

‘Hopefully our people can support us how United supported their team,’ he said. ‘It’s not done. Our players know it. Hopefully our fans can too.

‘I have the warnings after what happened in the second half. Hopefully our fans will be in the stadium.’

Meanwhile, United club captain Ashley Young is in talks over a move to Inter Milan.




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