Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken out after his side’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday. The Red Devils fell behind in the first half courtesy of Bertrand Traore’s powerful strike. But goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani ultimately gave the visitors victory.
Traore struck in the 24th minute to put Villa ahead, capitalising on some woeful defending from Victor Lindelof to find the net.
But United were a side transformed after the interval, turning on the style to claim all three points and boost their hopes of finishing second in the Premier League table.
Fernandes got the comeback rolling by scoring a penalty, converting his effort from 12 yards after Paul Pogba had been fouled inside the area.
Greenwood then put United ahead, expertly beating Emiliano Martinez with a fine low drive.
And Cavani made the points safe late on, with the Uruguay international scoring his eighth goal in seven matches with a pinpoint header.
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It was a good day for Solskjaer’s side, who are now all but guaranteed Champions League football for next season.
But one stain on the day was the injury to Harry Maguire.
And Solskjaer has now opened up on the incident, admitting he hopes the skipper will be available for the upcoming Europa League final.
“Hopefully that [the final] will be okay with Harry,” he said.
“I don’t know. We need to check it. It might be a few weeks or a month – we don’t know.
“It was his calf or lower leg. I think the player landed on him and he twisted something.”
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Solskjaer also praised Maguire by saying: “Harry has been excellent and it’s almost unheard of, the minutes he’s played.
“His fitness is very good – he’s robust. But, today, it looked like the boy landed on him and he twisted his ankle.
“I don’t know how serious it is. He might be available on Tuesday, he might not.”
Luke Shaw was also happy after the game, admitting Solskjaer inspired the win with his half-time team talk.
“Going 1-0 down in the first half we knew it was going to be a hard game and we have been in this situation so many times – second half we came back much better,” he said.
“That’s a positive but we need to start the first half better than we normally do. Maybe we’re not ready for the game but we have the quality and can’t keep counting on second-half performances.
“He (Solskjaer) said exactly what I have just said, we have been in this situation a lot of times, we have the quality, are a fit team and we always believe. When we got the first goal I felt we were going to win.
“We are just focusing on ourselves, even more so we look at the City result and we are disappointed with the points we have let go this season. We have two games in four days, we need to be ready.”
Goalscorer Greenwood added: “It is some achievement.
“We don’t really want to go behind but it gives us a little boost to come back and get the win.
“It was well improved [in the second half]. Ole said his bits in the changing room. It seemed to pay off.
“To be on the main stage and scoring important goals like today, it means a lot.
“We just concentrate on ourselves, we take it game by game. We want to get as many points as we can and keep the pressure on.”
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was enraged, however, venting his fury at the decision to give United a penalty.
“I don’t think anybody knows, everybody is confused how Raheem Sterling can go through and have four or five touches on him last night and not get a penalty, then one touch here and it is a penalty – it looked a pathetic decision to me, but he goes down, similar to Old Trafford and last season here,” he said.
“Ollie Watkins has got sent off for a second yellow, there is no way the referee can tell me he is convinced he hasn’t been touched.
“I just don’t understand the decision-making of the officials and more importantly at Stockley Park.
“It looks like now he has to get hurt to win the penalty – is it enough contact for a penalty, no.”