Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is adamant that Manchester United’s worst start to a Premier League season in 31 years is of secondary concern after insisting he is not yet concerned by their position in the table.
A 2-2 draw at home to Aston Villa – a match the Norwegian admits they did not deserve to win – left the Red Devils ninth with 18 points from 14 matches, their worst return at a similar stage since 1988-89.
Back then they finished 11th in the top flight, 25 points behind eventual champions Arsenal.
While United are only two points behind fifth-placed Tottenham they are a whopping 22 behind arch-rivals and Premier League leaders Liverpool.
A victory over Villa would have lifted them above Spurs and within six of Chelsea but Solskjaer, with just six wins in 22 league matches since being appointed permanent manager in March, is not paying any attention to the table.
“I wouldn’t have sat here and talked about us being fifth if we had got that one goal extra, so the league table at this point is not the biggest concern because it is so tight,” Solskjaer said.
“I just need to make sure that we get performances and get three or four performances after each other – and results.
“What I can say is so far we have had the lead in so many games and we haven’t been able to win those games; six or seven times we’ve been 1-0 up, or 2-1 or 3-2 like last week (a 3-3 draw at Sheffield United).
“We should be better at seeing those games into wins.
“I think there is loads of evidence these boys are closer to winning games than losing games.”
What will have disappointed Solskjaer the most is that United hauled themselves back into the match against a side who had lost 16 of their previous 17 matches against established top-six opponents.
There is, however, little time for United to lick their wounds with the small matter of a midweek home date against former manager Jose Mourinho and Tottenham next on the horizon.