Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed Sunday’s defeat at Arsenal was his lowest point since taking over at Manchester United.
Following the euphoria of Wednesday’s stunning win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, the Old Trafford side returned to earth with a bump on Sunday after losing at the Emirates Stadium — the first time Solskjaer has suffered defeat in the Premier League since taking over in December.
The 46-year-old Norwegian said: ‘It has been fantastic so far but today is the lowest we have been because we lost and missed the chance to put pressure on Spurs. We have won games we have not deserved to win and today we lost a game we did not deserve to lose.’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed Sunday’s defeat was his lowest point since taking over
After falling behind to Granit Xhaka’s freak goal, United missed several opportunities to equalise before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed victory for the Gunners from the spot.
Solskjaer criticised referee Jon Moss for his decision to award Arsenal’s controversial penalty after Alexandre Lacazette went down under what looked a tame challenge from Fred.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery conceded that the penalty was ‘soft’ and Solskjaer said: ‘I don’t think it is a penalty, that is a decision the ref had to make but Jon Moss might be disappointed when he sees it again. I don’t think there’s enough contact there to warrant a penalty.’
When asked whether Lacazette dived, the United boss added: ‘No, I don’t think so. Apparently Fred is very, very strong.’
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the finishing touches on Arsenal’s 2-0 win over United
The defeat dealt a major blow to United’s hopes of finishing in the top four as Arsenal overtook them to move into the final Champions League qualification slot.
Just four points separate Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham, who are third. Solskjaer reckons the race to finish in the top four could go to the final day of the season.
‘It’s very tight,’ he said. ‘I don’t think nerves come into it yet, but you see Spurs lose, we lose, Chelsea drew, so it’s going to go down to the wire – down to the last few games definitely – but we’ve given ourselves a great chance to be in the fight. We are in a good position.’
Granit Xhaka attempted a speculative strike from range and it wrong-footed David De Gea
Arsenal’s resolute win — typified by captain Laurent Koscielny playing much of the game with a three-inch gash in his left shin — moved the Gunners to within a point of Tottenham.
Spurs have finished above their arch enemy for two consecutive seasons but their form has tailed off recently.
Asked whether his side can end Mauricio Pochettino’s recent grip on north London, Emery said: ‘Yes, but we were positive when we were struggling in the table.
‘We took balance in our minds when we were worse. But after this victory we can be positive but we don’t change our idea.’