Michael Owen has taken Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to task over his post-match comments after Manchester United’s drab goalless draw with Chelsea.
Sunday’s Stamford Bridge stalemate turned into a game neither side wanted to lose with chances at a premium.
And while Solskjaer admitted afterwards his team had been poor with the ball, he did suggest that if they had nicked a 1-0 win it would have been a “perfect away performance”.
“Defensively, energy, application, attitude, pressing. Spot on,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.
“With the ball not good enough. Not enough quality. We didn’t create the chances we hoped for.
“If we score on that breakaway when it was two against one that’s the perfect away performance. Or if you get the penalty.”
That has rattled former United striker Owen, who thinks United should be setting their sights higher.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer there said ‘we were a decision away from the perfect away performance’,” Owen told Premier League Productions.
“If they had been given a penalty, and let’s say they won 1-0, we’d all be saying ‘great disciplined performance, good defending’. But really, is it? That’s not the perfect away performance.
“As Scholesy said, Manchester City go to teams and absolutely pulverise them.
Aim higher, says Owen
“They play them off the park, they don’t rely on 50-50 decisions or whatever you want to call it for a penalty.
“Now, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can’t say that’s perfect. In the future, they need to be aiming to do what the likes of City have been doing in recent seasons. They need to be aiming to do what Manchester United were doing 10-15 years ago.
“Not thinking that an away performance as drab as that, and relying on a potential penalty shout, and saying if it happens that it’s the perfect away performance. It is if you’re trying to get into the top four but this is Manchester United you’re talking about.
“These players are world class players, a lot of them.”
United are on target for another top-four finish this season under the Norwegian, but their form against their big rivals is worrying.
They are yet to score from open play this season against one of the big six teams in the Premier League. That includes five 0-0 draws, a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal and the 6-1 home thumping by Tottenham.