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DERBY STALEMATE Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes surprising claim after derby draw as Roy Keane lets rip again

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Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City  runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made some surprising comments after a desperately flat derby game against Manchester City ended in a 0-0 draw.

Solskjaer has a fine record against City and got the better of Guardiola in three out of four meetings last season, yet he seemed content with this latest performance despite a lack of quality in his forward line.

While Solskjaer needed to avoid defeat after they crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages last Tuesday, these comments will raise a few eyebrows.

"In my time against Manchester City that's the best performance we have had. Not the best result but the best performance," Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

"It was a tight game. I know we beat them a few times last season but those were different games. They had a few big moments.

"It's two good teams. Tactically we knew they were going to give us some problems but defensively we were excellent. I'm delighted with the defensive shape. With the ball we didn't create as much as we wanted to.

"They probably had the bigger moments in open play. Everyone should be happy with a draw.

"It's a mental challenge when that happens to you [going out of Champions League]. The mental energy you' spend trying to recover from Tuesday is huge."

Former United captain Roy Keane offered a stout defence of Solskjaer after the game, yet he was less forgiving to the players on the field who failed to push for a win and appeared to be content to settle for a draw.

"I think Ole should be given until the end of the season," said Keane. "He needs to get his hands on some silverware, whatever competition it is. Let's not forget this is Manchester United.

"It's all about survival for him. He wants to get through another week and that's why he's happy with that performance and the draw.

"We can make a lot of excuses, but they were both really poor. I am looking for teams towards the end of the game to show a desire to win a game of football.

"We had two bookings in a derby game. I've never seen so many hugs and chats after the game from the players and the staff. I'm scratching my head.

"You have to try and win football matches. Liverpool and Spurs are doing well and you have to try and hunt them down."

City manager Pep Guardiola suggested the absence of fans at Old Trafford contributed to a flat derby battle.

"They started well after we finished the first half well," said the City boss. "We created three or four clear chances, you cannot expect many against a team like United and a good point in the end. It will be a good point in the future.

"United is always a strong team, this is Old Trafford and in a few details they are out of the Champions League. They score when they can run but we controlled them really well.

"It is not a derby, it would be different with the people and maybe they pushed more. It is different every week without the people, the virus is still there, you have to be careful."

Read Paul McGrath's verdict on the Manchester derby in the Sunday World

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