Manchester United Leave Stamford Bridge With A Point
It has been a week of drab nil-nil draws for Manchester United, who followed up their midweek stalemate with Real Sociedad with a goalless draw away to Chelsea.
The 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge ensured United’s club-record run of games away from Old Trafford was extended to 20 matches, including 13 wins and seven draws.
While the match lacked the usual cut and thrust of a showdown between these two teams, United, who defended well and saw David de Gea’s goal rarely threatened, will feel aggrieved not to have left with all three points, after referee Stuart Attwell checked a clear handball by Callum Hudson-Odoi in the first half, yet bizarrely waved play on.
There was a welcome return to the team for Scott McTominay who overcame recent injury issues to play a full 90 minutes.
However, united were still without two of their best attacking players, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba, and with the goals drying up the longer the duo are sidelined, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to have them at his disposal sooner rather than later.
Manager wanted all three points
While the manager was happy to come away with a point, he was disappointed not to have bagged all three points.
“We’re not scoring enough goals, that’s for sure. We came away and it’s another good clean sheet but the next step for this team is to win these games and score a goal. We needed to get three points and, of course, we should have had a penalty, which probably I would back Bruno [Fernandes] every day of the week. We didn’t have the right weight of pass, good quality at the end in the four or five good breakaways we had in the second half.”
After Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp complained about the number of penalties Manchester United have received this season, the Red Devils have been on the wrong end of several high-profile VAR blunders, today’s example the latest instalment.
“We could’ve had a penalty, it’s so clear and nailed on that you can’t even fathom why he never gave it, when he was told to have a look at it. They probably thought his hand was in a very natural position, when he flicked that ball. It’s gone now. We should have had a penalty, that’s clear, and I’m a bit concerned we don’t get those penalties after what noises were made a month or two ago about us getting penalties. Clearly, there is a point of managers influencing the referees, which they shouldn’t do.”
“That’s just the nature of us as managers, isn’t it? Anything that goes against you, you probably want to highlight if something goes for other teams, like you try to stop that probably but I trust the referees not to be influenced by it. I was very surprised by the decision today when I looked at the video. Live, I didn’t think it was a penalty and I understand why he didn’t give it. When you look at the video, it’s not a very natural position to have your hand in,” said Solskjaer.
More to come
Although disappointed not to score, Solskjaer believes there is more to come from this team, who have now got their defensive lapses under control.
“We had near moments, Mason [Greenwood] and Fred had a few decent attempts but we didn’t have enough and that’s the next step for us. We will improve. Last season, we had some great results in a different manner, at the moment we’re trying to develop this style, develop ourselves to win these games and to have those last bits. Defending, energy, application; everything was really good defensively.”
“There was one moment in the first half, a cross to [Olivier] Giroud, we are too slow to react and, in the second half, there’s a cross towards the back stick for [Timo] Werner but I thought Victor [Lindelof] had that covered. Apart from that we didn’t give anything away, which is very pleasing.”
Strong away form continues
With the away from home unbeaten run now at 20 matches, Solskjaer was happy to extend the run at the ground where the previous streak was unceremoniously ended in 1999.
“Last time it ended here [in 1999 when the previous record was set], I remember, that was a bad, bad performance. We’re doing well. We’re showing that we do have the attitude, the energy. I thought we grew more into the game and looked really strong towards the end of the game.”
Attention turns to Crystal Palace
United are next in action on Wednesday, when they travel to Crystal Palace, hoping to atone for the 3-1 hammering they received at home on the opening day of the season.
“We’ve got Crystal Palace on Wednesday, so we look forward to that one. I’m pleased with everyone’s energy, attitude, as I’ve said. We just need a bit of quality. I said before the game, in these so-called big games, we’ve kept some great clean sheets, great defending, energy, attitude. The lads have done absolutely everything right defensively. Attacking-wise we need that little bit of quality but that will come. This team is getting better,” concluded Solskjaer.