Manchester United Limping To Finish Line With Fulham Draw
10,000 fans inside Old Trafford for the first time in 14 months wasn’t enough to rouse Manchester United from their slumber, as the Red Devils limp towards the finish line of the 2020/21 season with more dropped points – this time in a 1-1 home draw with Fulham.
Manchester United’s mercurial number seven, Edinson Cavani, had those inside Old Trafford on their feet in the 15th minute when, after receiving a delightful flick from Bruno Fernandes, the Uruguayan chipped Fulham’s keeper from a full 35 yards out.
As the game wore on, United failed to put away their chances, and were made to pay when Joe Bryan waltzed in unchallenged to head home the equaliser for Fulham in the 76th minute.
While manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted to see fans in the stands again, his teams form gives him cause for concern as he looks to lift his first trophy as United’s manager next week…
Fans In The Stands
Solskjaer is looking forward to the day when Cavani scores in front of a packed Stretford End, and he got a small taste of what it will be like after the strikers wonder goal.
“Walking in here with the buzz, the energy, hearing the chants. I know the players really appreciate it. They maybe overdid the play at times. I thought we were too loose, too fancy, wanting to do flicks and backheels. Tricks when you don’t need to. That was the disappointing bit, but it was with good intentions. They wanted the crowd to have a good day.”
“How good was Cavani’s goal? Oh, top. That was the highlight obviously. What a way to introduce himself to the Stretford End. I know I’ve said it a long time, but we need fans here and they’re going to see him score many goals for us. That was an excellent finish, and the way he works to get his chances as well is exceptional.”
“I’ve missed the Stretford End sucking the ball in towards the end of games and I’m sure when we get everyone back in, we’ll get some more joy.”
Poor Decision Making
Solskjaer was left to lament poor decision making that ultimately cost his side, and hopes it serves as a wake up rather than a knock to their confidence.
“Yeah, we played well, we created chances, but we couldn’t take them. But then, if you don’t take them, anything can bite you in the Premier League. Good players, good teams. It was a good cross and a good header. We should have dealt with it better though.”
“We wanted to win. Not because of second or third position – we wanted to gain momentum, gain confidence, because we’ve lost too many points in the last week. Hopefully that won’t dent the confidence. Hopefully it will just wake them up. We made too many decisions that I didn’t like,” concluded the manager.
While a point against already-relegated Fulham was enough to secure second place in the Premier League, there is no trophy handed out for ‘making progress’ and the clubs fans demand title chases, not plaudits.
The true measure of progress will be next weeks Europa League final. While the trophy will be a reward for Champions League failure, it could serve as a springboard for further success as the team builds their own belief.
However, based on current form, and with Harry Maguire being a serious doubt for the final, winning that first trophy is anything but a certainty…