Football

We didn’t deserve to beat West Ham: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Man United labour to 2-1 victory over West Ham as they warm up for trip to the Nou Camp

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his side "got away with it" as the Red Devils warmed up for their Champions League clash with Barcelona with a laboured 2-1 home win over West Ham United yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Since Solskjaer was appointed permanent United manager last month, the Red Devils have struggled to find the form that helped them to an 11-match unbeaten streak when the Norwegian first took over on an interim basis last December, reported Reuters.

After being given the job permanently, the 46-year-old's side saw off Watford but they then lost successive matches to Wolverhampton Wanderers and then Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.

Barcelona will carry a 1-0 advantage into Wednesday morning's return leg at the Nou Camp comfortable in the knowledge that they did not face a shot on target at Old Trafford.

Against West Ham, United needed a penalty to take a first-half lead and, after the visitors levelled through Felipe Anderson, United needed the crossbar and a brilliant David de Gea save to keep the scores level.

Paul Pogba stepped up to score his and United's second penalty of the game 10 minutes from time and Solskjaer admitted his side were lucky to secure all three points.

He said: "We got away with it.

"Sometimes you get more than you deserve and today is one of them nights.

"Watford was one of them as well. We were lucky it wasn't Barcelona but West Ham played well."

His opposite number Manuel Pellegrini agreed, saying: "I think we should have won three points...

"I don't want to complain about the referee because I think all of them were difficult decisions, but it was not a penalty on Juan Mata and our disallowed goal was onside by just one foot.

"The second goal they scored was a mistake and also offside although we made a mistake in the build-up.

"With VAR, I think we would have won this game."

Pogba, meanwhile, felt that United's stutter against the Hammers was down to a lack of speed in their play.

He told BT Sport: "It was really open but we didn't play well. With the chances and space we had, maybe we played too slow. We will have to fix that.

"I can't explain if we are tired from the Champions League game but we have to rest now for Tuesday."

One of Pogba's former midfield predecessors at Old Trafford, Paul Scholes, however, believes United's dip in form is not helped by the Frenchman "slipping into his old ways".

He said on BT Sport: "I want to see the Paul Pogba that started when Ole came in.

"His first six or seven games, I'll stretch that to 10-11 games.

"The quality of him, the assists, the goals he scored were fantastic.

"It just seems like the last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for him.

"He seems to be slipping into his old ways a little bit.

"Taking too many touches on the ball, not passing. He needs to get back to it.

"We know what quality this player has, he's such a powerful player. He can strike a ball, he can make a goal, he can score goals.

"He's what we need, he's what Manchester United need in this team, which is real quality."

Football