Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and captain Harry Maguire vowed on Sunday that the title race was not over despite another disappointing result that left them seven points behind neighbours and Premier League leaders Manchester City.
United, who had topped the table earlier in the season, could only draw 1-1 away at second-bottom West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, leaving them second on 46 points after playing one more game than City and with 14 matches left.
“No, I don’t think so,” Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told reporters when asked if the title race was over. “I think no one will give it away this early. Of course, no one knows this season, it’s so unpredictable. Life is so unpredictable. Anything can happen. Of course we’re not going to settle for second.”
Maguire, who nearly won the game with a last-minute header, agreed when asked if United were still thinking they could win the league: “Of course we are. We’ve got to look after ourselves and go again and win the next one and win the next one.”
Solskjaer, whose team let in a last-minute equaliser against Everton last weekend to lose further ground, rued the lack of clear-cut chances against West Brom.
“We didn’t create enough big moments to create goals, even though the ball was in their last third all the time … We just lacked that little bit of ruthlessness, clinicalness in finishing,” he said.
Still, the United Boss praised Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes, for “fantastic technique” in his volleyed equaliser.
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Maguire was convinced he should have had a penalty in the second half when he was manhandled and clipped in the box, but Solskjaer said he was offside anyway and had a dig at the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for bothering to check the foul.
“It’s a clear foul if you only look at the clash … But from what I see, I can see Harry being in an offside position,” he said. “So someone must have been asleep in that VAR office, Stockley Park, or wherever they are. Someone needs to brew some coffee because it could have easily been avoided by saying ‘he’s offside, let’s move on.'”
West Brom have turned to the experienced Sam Allardyce, who has built a reputation on rescuing teams from relegation. But his team has only notched six points in 11 games since he took over and remain deep in trouble, 12 points from safety.
Asked if he could pull off another great escape, Allardyce was non-committal but praised his players for matching United.
“I can’t knock any players’ application and effort … Excellent in terms of how we limited Manchester United to very few opportunities. And then the other way, really, really pleased about how many chances we created,” he said.
“But unfortunately disappointed we didn’t convert more of them, because then we would have won this game … To say I’m slightly disappointed in the result is a big thing to say when your team is struggling and you are against a team that is top of the league like Manchester United.”
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