In Depth

Premier League reactions: Solskjaer admits Man Utd were just not good enough

Leicester and Tottenham secure wins but there’s more misery at Old Trafford

Premier LeagueManchester United 0 Burnley 2 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted it “wasn’t good enough” from his players after witnessing Burnley’s first Premier League victory at Old Trafford. 

Goals in either half from Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez secured the Clarets a precious three points - moving them up to 13th in the table.

United’s eighth league defeat of the season leaves them in fifth spot, six points shy of the Champions League qualification places.

“The players are giving everything, they have done absolutely fantastic so far this season but they know it wasn’t good enough,” said Solskjaer, whose position as manager is now under intense scrutiny

“The boys looked mentally tired towards the end, we didn’t find that creativity.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. When you are at Man Utd you are privileged because you are playing for the best club in the world.”

With Marcus Rashford sidelined until April at the earliest, United’s lack of creativity will remain unless they use the final week of the transfer window to bring in a replacement. 

“We have got our targets,” said Solskjaer, when asked about possible signings. “I am going to be answering these questions until it [transfer window] closes. We are working on things.”

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Tottenham 2 Norwich City 1: Spurs win ugly

Jose Mourinho saw his Tottenham side secure their first league win of 2020 but it was a laboured performance against bottom-placed Norwich City. 

Like Man Utd, Tottenham lack a cutting edge up front with Harry Kane out until the spring with a hamstring injury. But Dele Alli ended a run of three matches without a goal when he struck towards the end of the first half. 

Teemu Pukki levelled from the penalty spot for the Canaries on 70 minutes but Tottenham scored the final goal of the evening when Son Heung-min nodded in a deflected cross. 

Spurs’s first league win since 26 December moves them up to sixth, level on points with Man Utd but with an inferior goal difference. 

There was more good news for Mourinho with the return to action of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but that was tempered by an ankle injury to Harry Winks. 

“We are so, so unlucky with injuries,” said Mourinho. “We get back Hugo Lloris and we lose Harry Winks. It’s incredible.” 

It’s expected that England midfielder Winks will be unavailable for “weeks not months”.

Leicester City 4 West Ham 1: Foxes lose Vardy

Leicester City thrashed West Ham United 4-1 to consolidate third spot, but victory came at a price for the Foxes with Jamie Vardy suffering a leg injury in the first half. 

The loss of their talismanic striker made little difference to Leicester on the night - with two of their goals coming from Ayoze Perez - but the injury to Vardy took the gloss of the performance nonetheless. 

“He is such a good player and we hope it is not too serious,” said manager Brendan Rodgers. “We just have to wait and see on that in the next day or so.

“Thankfully his hamstring is okay and he just felt some pain in his glute, so we will have to assess that over the next few days.”

The victory - Leicester’s first in three matches - means they are now eight points clear of fourth-place Chelsea and well on course for next season’s Champions League.

Klopp’s men travel to Wolves

Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool are away at Wolves tonight (8pm, live on BT Sport 1). 

Unbeaten in the league this season Jurgen Klopp’s side are 13 points clear of second-placed Manchester City. 

Naby Keita, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri will be missing from the Liverpool squad through injury and Wolves will be without Ruben Vinagre. 

Klopp is expecting a tough game this evening at Molineux. He said: “Wolves are not only this year, but last year, really difficult to play. 

“They play a similar system to other teams. It depends a little bit how they set up - three or five at the back. But they do it differently, [Conor] Coady has a different role, they make the pitch really big and ask you for a lot of footwork. You have to run a lot. 

“That’s normal and good, it’s their way to play. For us, there are solutions for that but not without working a lot. You cannot play on a 50 or 60% basis against Wolves, then you have absolutely no chance. That’s the challenge for that game.”

Today’s back pages

Will it be Ole ‘Goner’ Solskjaer as Man Utd crash and Burn?

Premier League results and fixtures

Last night’s results
  • Leicester City 4 West Ham United 1  
  • Tottenham Hotspur 2 Norwich City 1  
  • Manchester United 0 Burnley 2
Tonight’s fixture
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Liverpool (8pm, live on BT Sport 1) 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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