It was also the first time this season that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side won back-to-back games in the Premier League. While these statistics suggest progress is being made, the reality couldn’t be further from that.
For large parts of the encounter, Manchester United struggled to break down the defence of West Brom and needed a penalty to win the game.
In their last game against Everton before the international break, Manchester United showed intent at least. However, it looks like the entire team loses its mojo when playing at Old Trafford.
An uninspiring performance from Manchester United
Manchester United’s build-up was slow, while they also lacked urgency upfront. Anthony Martial was once again wasteful, Marcus Rashford looked uninterested and Juan Mata was a complete spectator throughout the game.
Bruno Fernandes was the only lively player for the Red Devils as he set up one-on-one chances for Martial and Rashford only for both of them to fluff their lines. West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone who came through the United academy ended the game as man of the match.
“Well it's important to get the first win at home. I think a lot has been said and written about it and I think you could see towards the end we were a bit edgy that we needed to hang on to this win,” Solskjaer said after the game, as quoted by Manutd.com.
“We could have, probably should have, scored a couple more goals to make it an easier finish. At 1-0 you're never sure and it's a tight call both ways.”
Despite winning the game, Manchester United were largely unconvincing and fortunate as Fernandes was given the chance to retake his penalty following his initial kick, which was saved after VAR spotted Johnstone stepping off his line.
Time for some consistency
The Baggies could have been the ones to open the scoring, but for VAR overturning a penalty awarded to them, when Fernandes appeared to have brought down Conor Gallagher in the box.
The win is very important but it’s time to see some progress under Solskjaer. The Norwegian will soon run out of excuses if the team continues taking one step forward and two steps back.
As Manchester United manager, he knows what is at stake and that another underwhelming season will not be tolerated. Towards the end of his post-game press conference, Solskjaer acknowledged this when he called on his players to step up.
“Three points, home win, no more talk about that but we need to keep consistent performances, better performances than this. We know that. If we want to move up the table, we have to play better,” he rallied.
Consistency is key at this point in the season. The Red Devils may not be lucky against other teams if they repeat their lethargic performance versus West Brom again.Published 22 Nov 2020, 14:37 IST