Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described his side’s 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday as the worst performance of his four months in charge.
Wolves produced a hugely impressive display in both halves at a rocking Molineux, reaching the last four of the FA Cup for the first time since 1998 with second-half strikes from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota.
Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back deep in added time but there was barely a minute left for United to find an equaliser and they fell to a second consecutive defeat after losing 2-0 at Arsenal in the Premier League.
“Quite a lot was missing today, it was the poorest performance we’ve had, it was a big step backwards,” Solskjaer told a news conference.
“We never had the urgency and quality on the ball even though without the ball in the first half we did ok. We felt too comfy in possession, we never managed to put their keeper or defenders under pressure. We had a couple of balls in behind for Rashford but not enough quality.”
There was little sign of the fighting spirit United had shown in their miraculous 3-1 win over Paris St Germain in the Champions League or the attacking flair of most of their performances since the former striker succeeded Jose Mourinho in December.
But Solskjaer dismissed suggestions United had lost momentum, praising Wolves, who picked up another prize scalp in a memorable season in which they have also dumped Liverpool out of the FA Cup and beat Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the Premier League.
“I think it’s something natural, you cannot perform to the top of your level every single time,” he said.
“It’s still against a good team, they’ve done really well against top teams, don’t take anything away from them even though we under-performed, so I don’t think that’s part of it at all.”
United have two weeks off for the international break before resuming their push for a top-four finish with a home game against Watford and they also have a Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona to look forward to.
“You can’t sit down and sulk too long, we’re disappointed, everybody is disappointed but we’ve got to look forward and put the result today behind us,” Solskjaer added.
“We know we’ve played well against Arsenal last week and didn’t get what we deserved, but today we got what we deserved because we never deserved to win this game.”