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Grin or grimace? Solskjaer's face tells a story as Man Utd toil at Wolves

Published Jan 05, 2020
Jan 05, 2020 IST
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprung to his own defence on Friday when Robin van Persie criticised the Manchester United manager's touchline demeanour.

The Dutchman, who took Solskjaer's number 20 shirt at Old Trafford, suggested the United boss smiled too often and sometimes needed to "just be angry".

Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at Wolves – who ended United's participation in last season's competition – represented the latest opportunity for Solskjaer to show his emotional range. So, how did the Norwegian fare at Molineux?

Here is a breakdown of how Solskjaer reacted as the 'action' unfolded...


13' – GRIMACING: Romero to the rescue

The first clear-cut chance of the game fell to Matt Doherty, whose effort on the volley forced a superb reaction save from Sergio Romero. It really ought to have been 1-0 to Wolves, leaving Solskjaer shuffling a little uncomfortably in his seat.

30' – QUIZZICAL: VAR says no penalty


Solskjaer was somewhat bemused when United saw appeals for a penalty waved away on the half-hour mark. Leander Dendoncker got himself into all sorts of trouble and appeared to bring down Brandon Williams, but referee Paul Tierney was unmoved, and VAR backed him up.

45' – FROWNING: Goalless at the break 

Having failed to hit a shot on target in an underwhelming first half, Solskjaer looked less than impressed when the half-time whistle blew. This, conversely, might have pleased Van Persie.

49' – WORRIED: Romero laid low

Romero went down clutching his left leg early in the second half and Solskjaer wore a look of concern which eventually gave way to calm as the Argentine was able to continue, denying Neto soon after being treated.

57' – RUEFUL: Mata goes close

Juan Mata's free-kick completely wrong-footed John Ruddy but just curled past the Wolves goalkeeper's right-hand upright, with Solskjaer ​– hands plunged into his pockets – biting his bottom lip as he turned away in disappointment. 

67' – CONTEMPLATIVE: Changes on the way

As United's ninth shot of the match flew off target to leave Ruddy still untroubled, Solskjaer readied some reinforcements from the bench in the shape of Marcus Rashford and Fred, with still no sign of the 46-year-old's trademark grin.

69' – DISAPPOINTED: Rashford hits the bar

In his playing days, Solskjaer was the epitome of an impact sub and Rashford very nearly paid a fitting tribute to his boss when he sized up an excellent opening within moments of coming on. However, the England forward delayed his strike too long and it was deflected onto the top of the crossbar. 

76' – RELIEF: D'oh-erty!

Doherty nodded in from six yards, but the hosts' celebrations were cut short as the Irishman had headed the ball into his arm, affording Solskjaer some welcome relief.

90' – UNDERWHELMED: Second best but in the hat

Having once again failed to mastermind a win against Wolves – this time not even finding the target – the only smile from Solskjaer at full-time was to greet opposite number Nuno Espirito Santo, and you cannot criticise a man for observing social niceties.  

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