Solskjaer defends Victor Lindelof despite horror display

Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to single out Victor Lindelof for poor display.

The Swedish defender put up an erratic performance against Crystal Palace on Saturday which led to their 3-1 loss.

Manchester United came into their Premier League opener protecting a 15-match unbeaten run stretching back to January.

However, it looked well below their best after the short turnaround between seasons caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Crystal Palace built on a 1-0 win over Southampton last weekend by putting Solskjaer’s men to the sword at Old Trafford.

Andros Townsend strike and a brace from Wilfred Zaha wrapped up a 3-1 victory for Roy Hodgson’s side.

Victor Lindelof below average

Victor Lindelof was included in the starting lineup despite sitting out Sweden’s UEFA Nation’s League defeat to Portugal earlier this month due to fatigue.

However, he failed to cover himself in glory on his return to competitive action.

The 26-year-old allowed Jeffrey Schlupp to provide the cross for Townsend’s opener.

He was outmuscled by Zaha when the ex-United winger rounded off the scoring in the 85th minute.

The Swede also conceded the penalty which allowed Zaha to double Palace’s account.

But Solskjaer was reluctant to blame the center-back for a loss which served as solid proof of a lack of match fitness within his ranks.

“We all need games, we all need sharpness we all need time to get back to our best and I think we are going to get better,” Solskjaer said.

“But we are playing catch-up. Today we didn’t defend as well as we could have done but I wouldn’t want to point fingers at individuals,” he added.

Lindelof was wrongly penalized for a handball

Solskjaer went on to express his belief that Victor Lindelof was wrongly penalised for a handball in the box.

However, he admitted that the referee’s “harsh” decision to allow the resulting penalty to be retaken after David de Gea kept out Jordan Ayew’s initial effort was ultimately the correct one.

“I feel it is not a penalty because I think the ball comes from so close to Vic, where can he put his hands?” he said.

“Then the decision to retake it was probably the right one if you follow the rules because David’s heel, or both heels, were one inch off the line.”

“It is harsh on David and us but probably the right decision if you follow the rules,” he noted.

United will play Luton Town next on Tuesday in Carabao Cup at Kenilworth Road.

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