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pressure mounts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks for excuses as Manchester United lose at Old Trafford again


Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the defeat against Aston Villa (Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the defeat against Aston Villa (Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the defeat against Aston Villa (Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

For a second time this week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found himself looking for excuses as his Manchester United side lost 1-0 at Old Trafford, yet this was the most alarming setback of their season so far.

After West Ham beat United in the League Cup last Wednesday, Aston Villa were worthy of their victory that came courtesy of Kortney Hause's 88th minute winner, with Bruno Fernandes blazing an injury time penalty over the bar as United looked for late salvation.

Yet the truth was they turned in another disjointed Old Trafford display, as the disappointment of Wednesday night's Carabao Cup defeat was backed up with another goal less display in front of frustrated fans.

Villa's pressing and energy pushed United onto the back foot and they had chances to score before finally finding the goal that gave them their first win at the Theatre of Dreams since 2009.

Solskjaer was scrambling for excuses after the game, as he tried to cover up some of the flaws in his side's performance by claiming the match officials had made a mistake on Villa's winner.

"You can take it when it's a good goal conceded against you, but that's offside," declared the United boss. "He's touched David as he heads the ball.

"How that's a goal and Leicester have not got their goals, I just can't see the consistency and that's clearly offside. VAR has gone wrong again.

"They are hard to break down, they are aggressive and good on the counter attack.

Fernandes' late penalty was a poor effort for a player with a great record from spot kicks, with the long delay before he took the shot and the intimidation he received from Villa's players raised by Solskjaer.

"I've not seen it because it ended up with nothing anyway so I can't comment on that one but unfortunately we missed the chance to get a point," he stated, curiously suggesting he did not watch the penalty.

"I didn't like the way their players crowded Bruno and tried to put him under pressure. I guess that should be a yellow card for someone but they have achieved what they wanted."

Solskjaer went on to admit more is expected of a United side that do not appear to have improved despite the summer signings of Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane.

"When you lose games it's a concern of course it is," he added. "We were very aggressive, very good on transition, got forward quickly but the final shot, final pass and final decision wasn't always the best one. 20 of the 30 attempts were blocked.

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"Now we have a big game in the Champions League against Villarreal on Wednesday. We have to stand up for our team, fight for our team and we have to bounce back."

Read the verdict of Manchester United legend Paul McGrath's verdict on what should happen next for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in this weekend's Sunday World.

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