Europa League

Solskjaer praises Martial, rues lapse in concentration and 'astroturf bounce' after Europa draw

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ByJen Offord
20/02/2020 at 21:02 | Updated 20/02/2020 at 22:29

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaped praise on Anthony Martial after he scored Manchester United's only goal in a 1-1 draw against Club Bruuge on Thursday in the Europa League.

Martial scored in the 36th minute after taking advantage of a poor throw-in by Maxim De Cuyper to level the score after going a goal down early on in the match.

Speaking of Martial, who has scored three goals in his last four games, Solksjaer said: “Great by Antho [Martial] I have to say. [He] worked hard, won the ball, and [had] good composure and gave us that very important away goal.”

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It was a frustrating match for United, who started the game badly, but Solskjaer said his team couldn’t be unhappy about an away draw.

He said: “It was a game with difficult conditions out there. It’s almost like an Astroturf – it was bouncing. The ball is very very quick and lively, so anything can happen and we got the away goal – a very very good goal, individual goal. So we’re happy with that, but we know we can play better.”

However, despite that, Solskjaer voiced his frustration at “lapses of concentration” by his side, in particular after a quick goal kick by Simon Mignolet which resulted in his side conceding the first goal.

“We gave them a goal on their goal kick and they gave us a goal on their throw in, so two poor goals in concentration I think from both teams,” he said.

“There were some moments for us where we switched off. They had a quick throw in early on, there was a big chance after two minutes and we just turned our back to the game. That was a bit disappointing."

Asked if he was disappointed that Mignolet was not pulled up for taking a goal kic while the ball was still in motion, or if he felt his side should have in fact won a corner instead, Solskjaer remained philosophical.

“It is what it is, no point complaining,” he said, adding “Maybe it was a corner before and the ball was rolling, but still, we shouldn’t switch off… Well done by Mignolet to be fair, but we shouldn’t allow those goals that’s too easy.”

When asked about his side’s prospects in next week’s second leg at Old Trafford, he said: “They need to come and score a goal and hopefully it won’t be a 3-3 score draw, but we’ll go there to win the game.”

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