Ole Gunnar Solskjær criticised Manchester United’s inability to stop Andros Townsend’s equaliser and a lack of “cutting edge” which saw his team fail to score a second goal in the 1-1 draw with Everton at Old Trafford.
Anthony Martial’s first-half opener was cancelled out by Townsend, whose finish came from a break following a weak Bruno Fernandes corner. Fred lost the ball, then was unable to dispossess Demarai Gray before Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Raphael Varane all failed to stop possession going to Townsend via Abdoulaye Doucouré.
Solskjær said: “We did have enough players behind the ball, we made a couple of bad decisions which cost us in those 10 seconds or whatever – that counterattack worked for them.
“We worked [enough players] well enough behind the ball but should have dealt with the danger better. It’s a counterattack they throw at us, we were well enough organised and should have dealt with the situation a lot better.”
As in recent matches United often attacked in isolated bursts rather than in concerted fashion. Solskjær bemoaned how toothless his players were in attack. “We had 75% possession. We got hit on one break that cost us and we lacked that cutting edge to get the important second goal,” he said. “We just couldn’t get that second goal you need in games like this as Everton can score a goal from nowhere.”
After the equaliser Cristiano Ronaldo, who had started on the substitutes’ bench, was seen clapping and pointing towards where Fernandes took the dead-ball, perhaps indicating that United should not have conceded from a corner.
Solskjær made five changes, with Ronaldo and Paul Pogba demoted to the bench and Martial and Fred among those drafted in.
“You make decisions throughout a long, long season and you’ve got to manage the players’ workload,” he said. “The decision was, for me, the correct one. Anthony Martial did well, scored a good goal, Edinson [Cavani, who also came in] needed minutes, he got an hour, could have had a goal, a great cross and a great chance for him. We have to make those decisions sometimes.”
Everton have 14 points, the same as United. “It was a great performance,” their manager, Rafael Benítez, said. “The team was doing really well in defence and on counterattack. I am really pleased with the team, the effort of the players. [We are] missing some important players and still we are performing.
“The target is exactly the same, it has to be the next game against West Ham, with the same mentality, commitment and after we will see but for me it is just one [match] at a time.”