Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has demanded ‘concentration’ from his side, as he seeks to stop them from conceding ‘bad’ goals, ahead of Sunday’s clash with rivals Liverpool.
United head into that highly anticipated meeting off the back of an indifferent run of form, having failed to win any of their last three league games, notably shipping four away against Leicester City last weekend.
While they somewhat recovered with a 3-2 victory over Atalanta in the Champions League in midweek, that win once again showcased their defence flaws, as the Red Devils were forced to come from behind after conceding two simple first-half goals.
Those early set-back’s mean that Solskjaer’s men have now failed to keep a clean sheet in 12 consecutive games in all competitions at Old Trafford, their longest run without a shutout since 1964.
Speaking ahead of another crunch clash at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ against Liverpool this weekend, the United boss admitted that his side have been ‘too easy to cut through’ so far this season.
“We know that we were too open against Leicester, too easy to cut through,’ said Solskjaer at his pre-match press conference. “We’ve conceded some bad counter attack chances and set-play goals lately and that’s something we work on and have to put right.
“The funny thing is that this season we’ve had more players behind the ball than last season but we’ve been easier to play through.”
The Norwegian has demanded increased ‘concentration’ from his side to help get out of their current defensive slump.
“When Sir Alex gave his team talks, he mentioned concentration in every one,” he added.
“He always said you have to play with concentration. That’s 90-plus minutes in every game, every few days. That’s just your standard, that’s what it’s come to in football.
“We have conceded goals that we could have avoided, definitely. We are working to get better, the boys agree on what we have to do and they’re giving their best.
“Sometimes, like against Atalanta, they have two chances and score two goals. But every team will create decent chances against you and we have to focus. If you give them ones through lack of concentration, that’s not good enough.
“We’re competing at such a high level that if you switch off for a split second you will be punished. That’s the difference between this level and the one below — focus and concentration.
“It’s about being on the front foot, aggressive, winning your tackles. We showed a lot of that character and belief on Wednesday night.”