WEST BROMWICH: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United can still catch Premier League leaders Manchester City despite a damaging 1-1 draw at struggling West Brom on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

Solskjaer’s side was rocked by Mbaye Diagne’s second-minute opener for Albion at the Hawthorns.

Mbaye Diagne20210216 800x481 - Man Utd’s title bid damaged by West Brom draw
West Bromwich Albion’s Senegalese striker Mbaye Diagne (center) misses a chance during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, England on Feb. 14, 2021 (February 15 in Manila). AFP PHOTO

Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes leveled just before half-time with his 19th goal of the season in all competitions. United was unable to break down second-bottom Albion again and had to settle for a third damaging draw in their last four league matches.

It moved above Leicester into second place, but sits seven points behind City, which has a game in hand.

“We should play better, but we gave ourselves a tough start. You have 90 minutes to make amends, but we didn’t build that momentum until late in the first half,” Solskjaer said.

United has lost just once in 18 league games and is unbeaten in 19 away league matches, but it left the icy West Midlands well aware that City was now firmly in pole position to win the title.

After the blistering form that carried it into the title race across December and January, United is stumbling while City has won its last 11 league games.

Aware of the physical threat posed by Sam Allardyce’s teams, Solskjaer had warned his players to put their “bodies on the line” to deal with Albion’s aerial assault.

But that message clearly didn’t sink in as Albion took the lead after just 83 seconds.

Conor Gallagher swung over a teasing cross from the right, and Diagne overpowered United defender Victor Lindelof as he muscled past him before thumping a diving header beyond David de Gea.

It was the 29-year-old Senegal striker’s first goal in four appearances since his loan move from Galatasaray in January.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *