Solskjaer accepts blame for Man United form, losing hope on top-four chances

Manchester United is two points above the Premier League relegation zone after another loss, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepting the blame.

Manchester United sit 12th on nine points, its lowest points tally after eight games since 1989-90.   -  Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged the responsibility for Manchester United's poor form rests on his shoulders after they went down 1-0 away to Newcastle United.

Solskjaer's side fell to a third Premier League loss of the season and are 12th in the table, only two points clear of the relegation zone, having scored just nine goals.

United has only taken 17 points from 16 games since his permanent appointment in March after he initially impressed as Jose Mourinho's successor on a temporary basis, with Solskjaer accepting he needs to turn things around.

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"We're disappointed. We did lack quite a few key players but that's no excuse," Solskjaer - denied the services of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw due to injury - told Sky Sports after Matty Longstaff's debut goal inflicted the latest loss. 

"The players worked hard and ran their socks off but at the moment we're in a place we're not used to. Some of the boys lack a little bit of composure and we don't create enough chances to win a game of football. They stay together as a team but we don't create.

"Luckily for us it's now the international break. We get time to evaluate what's gone on over these eight games. We will sit down, hopefully we'll get a few players back.

"It's my responsibility. I need to sort their heads out. Young boys lacking confidence - they need some help from experienced players and staff. They're human and they want to do well. They need to see the results of their hard work and we're not getting those results, so that's going to affect them.

"The first half was the sloppiest we've been. In the second half we dominated but we didn't create. We've not changed a lot. We've played the same way and stuck to our principles. The players are working hard. We've had six out from the Chelsea game [a 4-0 win on the opening weekend] and that's going to affect results. But we'll work hard and get the quality back."

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United's next game, following the international break, is at home to leader Liverpool which has won 17 straight Premier League games.

"It will take however long it will have to take," Solskjaer said of turning around United's situation. "It's a journey we've started on and the culture is getting there. I can't give you any time but we're getting there. We've given ourselves a big, big uphill challenge to get among the top four, but it's tight and we need to get a run together.

"We've come together and discussed the direction we're going. If you only work on sunny days you'll never get to your destination. We'll have these days but we know where we want to get to."

Losing hope on top-four chances

Solskjaer acknowledged that his side is already facing a monumental task to challenge for Champions League qualification in the Premier League.

Solskjaer, however, believes United – who could be boosted by the return of Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba from injury – can use the Liverpool fixture as a chance to push on, though he acknowledged his team need to start picking up points swiftly.

"Very symptomatic of where we are at the moment. We don't create enough chances to deserve to win a game of football, that's the short version," Solskjaer, who has taken just 17 points since taking permanent charge of United, told a news conference. "We have given ourselves a very tough task to get into the top four. We need points straight away, get on a run. We need momentum.

"I can't tell you what is acceptable, every game should be one you need to win at this club but at the moment we can't win games, especially away from home. But we have the perfect opportunity to get players back and get supporters' mood up with Liverpool at home.

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"We're unhappy with the results, they bring down the mood in everyone. I've got to say sorry to the fans that we're not winning games but that is down to starting a rebuild.

"This is not a similar situation to when I was sat after a [4-0 defeat at] Everton last season, when I felt people had given up. These boys give everything they have got for the shirt and we'll get there again."

Harry Maguire should have given United the lead before half-time, only to head wide from six yards out - a miss which Solskjaer believes sums up the club's current form.

"I missed bigger chances. If you're 2-0 up and your team's winning every game, he'd close his eyes and score," Solskjaer said. "At the moment it's just not going for us. He knows and we know it's a big opportunity in the game. I've talked about these moments many times over the last month, we have to grasp the moment when it's there. We didn't and we need to clear our heads and get ready for Liverpool."

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