Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he was ‘happy with a point’ from what was an uninspiring Manchester derby, insisting his side’s display was the best they have produced against their cross-city rivals during his tenure.
Both sides came into the game after inconsistent starts to the season, and it was a first half in which both teams looked somewhat afraid of fully committing themselves in attack, with Man City, in particular, a long way short of some of the slick football that they have demonstrated over the last three seasons.
Saying that, City did have the better of the first-half chances, Man Utd defenders scrambling to block Raheem Sterling’s early effort, while Riyad Mahrez saw his shot saved by David de Gea before Kevin de Bruyne blazed over the rebound.
As is often the case, United remained a threat on the break and created chances of their own, though their final ball was often found lacking while they did look threatening from set pieces.
The second half began in much similar style, though City were handed a reprieve as VAR overturned a United penalty for an offside in the buildup after Kyle Walker had kicked Marcus Rashford.
All in all, it was a match which was massively lacking in urgency with neither manager’s changes really attempting to alter the pattern of the game as both seemed scared of being hit with a sucker punch.
Man Utd are the only team in the Premier League this season yet to score a goal at home from their strikers.
The wait goes on. pic.twitter.com/zGIWEPHMfd
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 12, 2020
United beat City on three occasions last season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer becoming only the third manager to do a league double over Pep Guardiola, and despite it not being the greatest of games, the Norwegian reckoned it was his side’s best performance against their rivals.
“In my time against Manchester City, that’s the best performance we have had. Not the best result but the best performance,” he told Sky Sports.
“It was a tight game. I know we beat them a few times last season but those were different games. They had a few big moments.
“It’s two good teams. Tactically we knew they were going to give us some problems but defensively we were excellent. I’m delighted with the defensive shape. With the ball we didn’t create as much as we wanted to.
“They probably had the bigger moments in open play. Everyone should be happy with a draw.
“It’s a mental challenge when that happens to you [going out of Champions League]. Everyone was up for it. The mental energy you spend trying to recover from Tuesday is high. I think the boys deserve praise”
The result leaves Manchester United seventh in the league, the Red Devils taking the short trip over the Pennines to face bottom side Sheffield United before hosting old foes Leeds next weekend.