Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United’s form is heading in the right direction despite a third Premier League game without a win.
United were held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday, with Jannik Vestergaard’s second-half header cancelling out a fabulous 10th-minute opener from Daniel James.
It meant Solskjaer’s men ceded a lead for the second away game in succession and were unable to effectively bounce back from the shock 2-1 loss at home to Crystal Palace last weekend.
But, far from denting the opening weekend optimism prompted by a 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea, Solskjaer believes his team’s game is in better order overall.
“The strange thing about it is the three games we haven’t won were better than the Chelsea one,” he told BT Sport.
“Chelsea pressed us and pushed us back. We counter attacked.
“In the other three we have been dominating, creating chances but haven’t been clinical enough to win the games.
“We’ve missed some penalties, we’ve missed some chances. It’s not a dip in form, it’s a dip in results.”
Not the result we wanted.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 31, 2019
James’ performances have been an undoubted bright spark for United in the opening weeks of the season.
The 21-year-old Wales winger now has three goals in his first four Premier League appearances since joining from Swansea City.
“We know his qualities and coming in off the left he’s got a great strike in him,” Solskjaer added.
“It’s a good goal today and he runs in behind and creates space for other players around him.
“He’s really come in and made an impact for us.”
Southampton had to weather some pressure after falling behind but grew into the game after half-time and Vestergaard felt they deserved a share of the spoils – having also run Liverpool close in their previous game at St Mary’s.
“It’s long overdue but I’m happy to final score and help the team. I thought we deserved to get something from this game. We did against Liverpool as well,” the centre-back told BT Sport.
“It’s nice to get some reward for the hard work.
“They’re a quality team but we knew beforehand they probably have more quality in every position. We had to defend them as a team and a unit.
“They scored a beautiful goal but we stuck with it and fought very hard. It’s a deserved point.”
Southampton were forced to play the final 17 minutes with 10 men after Kevin Danso collected his second booking for a rash challenge on Scott McTominay.
“It’s a problem if a defender is booked. Normally I should substitute him, it could be an option for me,” Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl told BT Sport.
“He’s a young guy and I think did a good job today. The position [left-back] isn’t really his best position. It’s something you have to learn and he will get that with experience.”