Nemanja Matic confident Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can arrest Man United slide

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Nemanja Matic insists Manchester United cannot blow their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League but backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to solve any problems.

The Serbia midfielder is aware United’s season is in danger of derailing after Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Wolves.

It was a second straight defeat after a 2-0 loss at Arsenal last week, the first league reverse under Solskjaer.

Fifth-placed United are just a point ahead of Chelsea and two points adrift of Arsenal after Solskjaer turned the season around since replacing Jose Mourinho, winning 14 of his 19 games and taking them to the Champions League quarter-finals.

But Matic knows United must not let the top four slip away.

“We have to give our best now to reach the top four. We cannot let it go like this. We are not happy with the game,” he said in the wake of the Molineux defeat.

“We will analyse everything. There is a lot to play for. We have eight games to play in the Premier League and we are fighting for the top four.

“We have the Champions League as well. We will see what we are able to do and how much quality we have. We have to learn from this type of game.

“Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham will give their best to be in the top four. Everybody knows that.

“If you see two months ago we were 11 points behind Chelsea and now we are in a much better position.”

Marcus Rashford scored an injury-time consolation after Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota had put Wolves 2-0 up in the second half.

Solskjaer said it was the worst performance of his reign but Matic expects the boss to put it right.

He said: “We will analyse this game to see where we made mistakes and see what we can do better. I am sure he (Solskjaer) will turn this situation around and we will do better.

“After the international break we will see. The first game back after a break is always difficult especially for a team who has so many players away in the national teams. Almost everybody at United is on duty.

“We spoke after the game and said we have to be focused for the next one and stuck together and get the top four which is the main target for us.

“I want Ole to stay. He is a great manager, very positive and the club will decide.”

Wolves reached the last four – where they will face Watford at Wembley – for the first time since 1998.

They beat Tottenham 3-1 there earlier this season while Jimenez won Olympic gold with Mexico at the stadium during London 2012.

Jimenez said: “It’s very important for us to have that experience that we can do it against anyone.

“It’s a stadium that has good memories for me. In 2012 we won the gold medal with Mexico (a 2-1 win over Brazil) and then with the last win against Tottenham.

“I am unbeaten there. I will keep doing my best and help the team to be in the final.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United deserved Wolves punishment in FA Cup

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Solskjaer's side is were eliminated from the FA Cup

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United got what they deserved as Wolves punished the worst performance of his caretaker reign and reached the FA Cup semi-finals.

Molineux bore witness to a famous night on Saturday as Nuno Espirito Santo led the club to the final four for the first time in 21 years.

Raul Jimenez’s strike on the turn and a superb solo effort from Diogo Jota put Wolves on course for victory against a ragged United side lacking the skill, verve and intensity that Solskjaer had instilled.

A late Marcus Rashford goal did nothing to lift the mood and the interim manager had no complaints about the result of this quarter-final clash.

“It was a big step backwards, I’ve got to say,” Solskjaer said. “That’s the poorest performance since I’ve come here. The lack of urgency forward, lack of forward passing, lack of regains.

“Sometimes international breaks come in handy and we would have loved to play it again and put it right.

“Hopefully some of them will have good experience with the national team, some will have a few days off and train hard here.

“Then we will be ready to push again because we’re in a great position in the league, we’re in the Champions League.

“Very disappointing tonight, though, that we’re not in the semis.”

United’s second successive defeat brought an abrupt end to Solskjaer’s honeymoon period, leading him to give his side an honest post-match appraisal.

Asked what he said to the players, the Norwegian said with a laugh: “Well, the truth. I’ve said to them not to you.

“But of course, you can’t sit down and sulk too long. Of course, we’re disappointed, everyone is disappointed, but we have got to look forward and look behind the result today.

“We’ve done that quite well. We know that we’ve played well against Arsenal last week and didn’t get what we deserved.

“Today we got what we deserved because we never deserved to win this game.”

The reversal of Victor Lindelof’s red card on the Video Assistant Referee’s advice counted for little and Wolves boss Nuno was understandably delighted after sealed a spot at Wembley.

“It means a lot, it means a lot,” the Portuguese said. “The FA Cup is the oldest competition there is.

“We played well and we achieved it with the amazing support of our fans, pushing us and believing in us.

Marcus Rashford's goal was not enough

Marcus Rashford’s goal was not enough

“The noise was fantastic, so when you achieve something I see that we did it together. We did it together.

“We did it with Liverpool, with Shrewsbury. It was tough. But we have to go and prepare ourselves for the next one.”

Nuno heaped praise on goalscorers Jimenez and Jota after the match at a bouncing Molineux, where the manager is revered after leading them from the Championship and into the upper reaches of the Premier League and now an FA Cup semi-final.

“What pleases me more is as I walk down the stands there are people saying that they saw the 50s and 60s and they are still coming to the stadium,” he said.

Copy provided by Press Association Sport

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United legend Paul Scholes welcome back at club after Oldham disaster

Simon Peach 16/03/2019
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Scholes was in charge of Oldham for 31 days. (pic courtesy of Oldham Athletic AFC Twitter).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened Manchester United‘s doors to Paul Scholes after the midfielder quit as Oldham manager by text message just 31 days into the job.

The 44-year-old signed an 18-month deal last month to take his first step in management with his boyhood club.

But things quickly went awry at Boundary Park and Scholes quit the Sky Bet League Two side on Thursday after one win in seven matches.

The former England international left claiming it had become “clear that (he) would not be able to operate as intended and was led to believe prior to taking on the role”.

Those sentiments were shared with Solskjaer, who has invited former team-mate Scholes into the Aon Training Complex for a chat.

Asked if he was surprised to see Scholes leave, Solskjaer responded with a laugh: “Were you? Well, he’s probably got his reasons why he left. You’ve got to ask him (if he will go into management again).

“He’s invited here if he wants to come and have a little chat about it. I’ve texted with him of course and it didn’t work out as he wanted, so that’s just management.”

The subject of Scholes coming into the club was revisited later in the press conference.

“He’s been great so far and you see ex-players coming in and if they want to learn, if they want to stay for a few days, a week,” Solskjaer added.

“Because Kieran (McKenna), Michael (Carrick), Demps (Mark Dempsey) and even in the academy there’s so many good coaches.

“And I know when I was away that I would have loved to come in and maybe do some study visits, but I had work, so I didn’t get the chance to do it.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Paul Scholes

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Paul Scholes

Scholes spent some time coaching at United after retiring for the first time in 2011, then worked during Ryan Giggs’ short interim period at the helm three years later.

Another return to the Old Trafford backroom team looks a long way off having surprised Oldham with his decision to leave.

Latics owner Abdallah Lemsagam was shocked to receive Scholes’ resignation via text message and said he would have liked to have the chance to “find solutions” to any grievances.

“I am disappointed by Paul’s decision to resign and surprised by the reasons he has given in his statement,” Lemsagam said in a statement.

“Both myself and the staff at the club gave Paul all the support and autonomy that he asked for. I personally was always supportive of any decisions Paul made or consulted me on reassuring him that he was the man in charge.

“I continued to encourage him despite the results and reassured him that his job was secure.

“I was content to remain in League Two for this season and working with the team we have for the remainder of this season is important.

“Paul and I both agreed that there is potential, but I reassured him that he had my full backing to rebuild the team of his choice next season.

“He did not raise any concerns at all about the team or any other matters informally or formally, prior to his resignation. He gave no opportunity or indications that he needed to address any issues at all.

“I have been in Dubai over the last couple of weeks and actually (felt) at ease knowing that he was in charge.

“I was very surprised as he simply resigned by text on Wednesday afternoon and has refused to discuss matters that influenced him to make his decision.”

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