MAN UNITED 0 CHELSEA 0 Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picks out two key reasons for flat display against Chelsea
Old Trafford contest finishes goalless
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identified two key reasons for his side's flat performance against Chelsea as a four game ended scoreless at Old Trafford.
United nearly snatched a late winner as Marcus Rashford was denied by a flying save from Edouard Mendy, but a game that has been so significant in the Premier League era lacked the spark so often associated with battles between these two sides.
Solskjaer suggested that was due to Champions League games for both sides a few days before, while he also hinted the empty stands at Old Trafford played a part.
"I think it was two teams who played in Europe this week and it showed," he stated. "If that Stretford End was full we might get that ball over the line. We created half decent opportunities and their keeper made a couple of fantastic saves.
"We've been to Europe, both of us this week, and we all remember what happened to us last time we won in Paris so it was important to us that we could show up against a good team. We kept possession and we put some pressure on them without too many big chances but the ones we got were good ones.
"They played well. they beat us in the FA cup last season but today we were closest to winning. We have a clean sheet, we stopped the home run of defeats. We wanted to win of course at home but I think it is a solid performance after the week we have had - we've had a very good week.
"If we have the Stretford End full behind that goal I'm sure we could create more pressure and more urgency. It is a different sport with the fans here. We miss them. It's the same for all teams but everyone agrees there's a little less in it - the edge has gone. I can't wait to get the fans back."
Having lost this season’s previous Premier League home matches to Crystal Palace and Tottenham in chastening fashion, United were looking to make it third time lucky as their top-four rivals arrived at an empty Old Trafford.
But neither side fully mastered the challenging conditions in the north-west, where substitute Cavani went close to making a dream debut impact that would have compounded Chelsea’s exasperation at the lack of video assistant referee intervention.
Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta could not believe Harry Maguire got away with wrestling him to the ground in the box towards the end of a first half in which Edouard Mendy impressively denied Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata after nearly passing into his own net.
Solskjaer turned to Paul Pogba and deadline-day acquisition Cavani early in the second half, with the latter going close to finding the net seconds after coming on when flicking a Bruno Fernandes cross into the side-netting.
United pushed hard for a breakthrough but a first home victory of the season evaded them, with Mendy denying Rashford a dream end to a remarkable week in the closing stages.
"It's a tight start to the season and I think this is just a continuation of that. It was in the final third we lacked today but the clean sheet was a big plus for us," said Chelsea boss Frank Lampard.
"Sometimes we want to be flexible, we looked at Manchester United and we had games last season we were the better team but lost to them on the counter attack. Thiago Silva adds quality and we must appreciate that side of the game. There's no doubt we need experienced heads around young players and you saw that today. He demands the right things around him, so we're happy."