‘Worst we’ve played’ - United boss unhappy with semi-final spell ahead of clash with City

PUBLISHED: 09:07 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:07 08 January 2020

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the touchline during the Carabao Cup semi final first leg match at Old Trafford, Manchester Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the touchline during the Carabao Cup semi final first leg match at Old Trafford, Manchester Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

PA Wire

Worries continued for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of Saturday’s clash with Norwich City, lamenting a period of last night’s 3-1 League Cup semi-final first leg loss to Manchester City as the “worst we’ve played”.

Pep Guardiola's visitors, winners of the competition for the past two seasons, swept into a commanding lead with three goals inside the opening 38 minutes at Old Trafford last night.

Goals from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal from Andreas Pereira saw City take firm control, with Silva playing as a 'false nine' and strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus being kept on the bench in reserve.

Marcus Rashford kept United's hopes alive by pulling one back 20 minutes from time as City eased off in the second half, leaving the Red Devils facing an uphill task in the second leg.

The defeat followed a 2-0 Premier League loss at Arsenal and a 0-0 draw at Wolves in the FA Cup third round, the replay of which is scheduled for next Tuesday - after the visit of Norwich on Saturday (3pm).

Solskjaer told PA Sport: "You come in at half-time with that result and pride is the one word you speak about. Make sure you win the second half and you are in the tie.

"Of course it is a difficult task we have in front of us but that second half at least gave us something to hang on to.

"From the first goal until half-time we just couldn't cope with the setback, we were running in between, we let them play, our heads dropped, made decisions we shouldn't do and that needed sorting at half-time and I think second half was a good response.

"It's a steep mountain to climb but we can still climb it and we just have to look forward.

"From their first goal to half-time was the worst we've played, before then it could have gone either way with a goal."

United went with a largely full strength team but did start young starlet Mason Greenwood ahead of France ace Anthony Martial up front, who came on for the final 10 minutes.

Norwich will head to Old Trafford sitting seven points from safety at the bottom of the table, looking to build on home draw with Tottenham and Crystal Palace in a period of much improved performances, as well as a 4-2 win at Championship side Preston in the FA Cup.

The Canaries will be looking to repeat the success of their last visit to the Theatre of Dreams, which saw a 2-1 win secured, which was a first win at United for 26 years.

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