Like we were still on holiday: Solskjaer, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Like we were still on holiday: Solskjaer

Solskjaer admits his side were below par against Watford, Shaw says United were awful in the second half

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his Manchester United team played as if they "were still on holiday or the international break" after a fortuitous 2-1 home win against Watford on Saturday.

It was the Norwegian's first match as full-time United manager and while he was unhappy with the performance, he was glad to have avoided slipping up on what he termed a potential "banana skin", reported AFP.

The 46-year-old was named permanent manager last Thursday after reviving the team following the sacking of Jose Mourinho last December.

Victory lifted United into fourth spot in the English Premier League and potentially a place in next season's Champions League, though, Arsenal can go back ahead of them if they beat Newcastle United tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Said Solskjaer: "I'm happy with the result if not the performance.

"It was one of those first games back after the international break that you know could be a potential banana skin...

"They made it difficult for us and it seemed as though we were still on holiday or the international break. Both teams feel they should have points.

"The first 20 minutes we started so slow and sloppy.

"You could see we have had players out with injuries and the international break.

"In the second half, we started sloppier but at 2-0, I thought we were in control.

"Then they scored. We didn't get into the game, (we) let them run through us."

One of the few United players to emerge from the match with any credit, Luke Shaw, admitted his side were lucky to have won.

Said the left-back: "We were awful in the second half, we were lucky with the result...


"We need to forget about the game today because we were not at our best at all."

The England man, however, showed some of his best qualities, winning the ball in his own half before releasing a sublime through-ball for Marcus Rashford to open the scoring against the run of play in the 28th minute.

United grabbed a scrappy second through Anthony Martial in the 72nd minute before Watford got a deserved goal on 90 minutes after a sharp one-two and some excellent footwork from midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Former United left-back Phil Neville praised Shaw, calling his assist for the opener "an absolutely unbelievable pass".

Said the England women's team manager: "It was fantastic.

"He defended the first thing really well, he did his job as a left-back.

"Then he saw the run and that is an absolutely unbelievable pass."

Neville's former England teammate Alan Shearer, however, singled out Rashford as the difference between the two teams.

The EPL's all-time leading scorer told the BBC: "It was a beautiful finish from Rashford for the goal.

"He is in charge of the situation, it was a good first touch, he doesn't panic and he knows what he wants to do.

"It was so calm. What I like about Rashford is he points to where he wants the ball.

"He made the run in behind several times and that was the difference in the first half.

"Rashford was the threat and he was the difference."