Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that his players did show a tactical flaw against Aston Villa, following criticism from Gary Neville.
Speaking on Sunday, pundit Neville claimed that his former side lack a true identity and style of play. While he pointed to United’s unbeaten away run, he insisted that the team looks like a “group of individuals playing in moments”.
Neville was speaking following Man Utd’s 1-0 Premier League defeat to Villa.
Both sides had chances to win the game, but the visitors to Old Trafford notched the crucial winner.
Bruno Fernandes then had the opportunity to rescue a United point with a penalty, but he blazed the effort over.
Still, speaking in response to Neville when asked about the pundit’s comments, Solskjaer admitted that his side do have a tactic to work on from their most recent defeat.
“I have not read that. Of course you are working on your style of play, your patterns, your possession game,” the manager told reporters (via Twitter).
“The Aston Villa game, we broke up play really well, attacked maybe too fast. We want fast attacking play, Gary knows that. Maybe we did it too fast.
“If you look at the stats, I don’t think I’ve seen any game with less efficient playing time. It was 45 minutes the ref gave us, but 45 minutes of effective playing time is one of the lowest I’ve ever seen. Normally, you’re up to 55, 60.
“That’s maybe because we’ve finished the attacks too quickly, same with Villa.”
He added, ahead of United’s Champions League clash against Villarreal on Wednesday: “[We could have] more control, but if you slow it down too much it might be a low-block again.
“We know Villarreal will defend well. It’ll be hard to play against them so we need to play quickly, but Gary knows what DNA is here at the club.”
Solskjaer hits back at Neville
Later on in his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer was questioned on further comments from Neville.
The ex-United full-back insisted that the Norwegian must deliver a trophy this season or next, following the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.
“He has always got loads to say!” Solskjaer said of his former colleague.
“The pressure is a privilege. To work in this environment you have to embrace it. I have got to say I have been backed and the progress has worked well.
“The backing I have got seems to me we are sticking to that plan. Expectations have improved with the better signings and performances. I am here to win, Gary knows that.
“We will get there, hopefully around April and May.”
Neville’s comments about silverware at Old Trafford have been echoed by another former United star, Teddy Sheringham.
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