Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained defiant he can turn around Manchester United’s awful form despite the “big step back” of their derby defeat.
The Red Devils were brushed aside 2-0 at Old Trafford by Manchester City on Saturday, Bernardo Silva scoring after Eric Bailly’s own goal.
The defeat was United’s sixth in their past 12 games in all competitions and their eighth at home in 2021, a number they last endured back in 1989.
They have also gone without a clean sheet in 14 consecutive home matches for the first time since the 1950s, while they have let in 11 at home in the top flight in 2021-22, their worst such return over the first six games of the season since 1976.
It was the manner of United’s loss that was particularly damaging, even though the scoreline did not reach the embarrassing levels of the 5-0 loss to Liverpool last month.
They only had one shot on target throughout and just four touches of the ball in the City box, their fewest in a league match since at least 2008-09.
Solskjaer was granted a reprieve by United bosses after the thrashing by Liverpool and responded by delivering a 3-0 win at Tottenham followed by a Champions League draw with Atalanta, a result secured through a last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo equaliser.
The United manager accepted the City performance was a major blow after their previous two results but maintained he is committed to arresting his team’s slide.
Asked about his belief he can turn things around, Solskjaer said: “Definitely. You’re right – [we need to get] back to where we should be. For me, it’s back to what we started to look like. We started to look like a proper team, a team that I like to see.
“We’ve had two, three, four weeks now, a disappointing spell. The performance against Tottenham was good, but it was not what we want to look like, to put it that way. We want to be on the front foot, we want to be more aggressive. Unfortunately, we had to try to get a few results.
“We got a couple of good results, Atalanta and Tottenham, but today was a big step back.”
Ronaldo’s volley in the 26th minute was the only moment City goalkeeper Ederson was made to work as the visitors assumed total control, making 821 passes to United’s 389.
“It’s a way of losing that we don’t like,” said Solskjaer, who appeared to receive less of a positive reception by fans than he did after the Liverpool result. “When you lose a game against a good team, you want to see a better Man United team than that.
“When you concede the first goal as early as we did in an unfortunate way, it makes the game a lot more difficult. We needed to be more front-foot, aggressive. We played against a very good team that made it hard to do that.
“When we had the ball, they pressed us really well and we couldn’t get the angles we knew we had to get and the quality we knew we had to get. We never got to the level we need to be at to win against good teams.”
Solskjaer now hopes the international break can do his players some good before they return to action at Watford on November 20.
“Players are human beings, and when you lose a game of football, there’s no better remedy than winning a game, getting your confidence by winning a game. Hopefully, the ones that go away do that and do well,” he said.
“For us, it’s all about Watford. We have to come out against Watford like a proper hurt animal. We’ve got to get back to what we know we can do. It’s the only way to approach this and attack this situation.
“Yes, the short answer is I think it’s come at a good time for us now. As a group, we’ve had a difficult spell, come through it, but this was a big step back for us.”
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