Solskjaer hails character of players despite winning run coming to an end

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United delivered an emphatic response to anyone who questioned their battling qualities after a stirring fightback against Burnley.

Solskjaer had overseen eight consecutive victories since taking interim charge last month although the honeymoon period looked to be coming to an end when Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood gave the Clarets a shock 2-0 lead.

It was the first time United had trailed under Solskjaer but Paul Pogba netted from the penalty spot with three minutes to go before Victor Lindelof struck in stoppage time, meaning they remain unbeaten under the Norwegian.

Manchester United v Burnley – Premier League – Old Trafford
Victor Lindelof netted the late equaliser to ensure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained unbeaten since becoming Manchester United interim manager (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Then again we could have got three. We just ran out of time towards the end and we started too late with the urgency that we needed, that’s a learning curve.

“But now you’ve got your answer: can they come back if they go one or two down? I’m very happy with the response.”

United lacked the usual sparkle that has been a hallmark of the Solskjaer era so far, which was not lost on the former United striker, who made five changes to the team that overcame Arsenal in the FA Cup last Friday.

Solskjaer suggested their red-hot form under his stewardship might have contributed to a lacklustre first half, in which they dominated possession but failed to create many clear cut openings.

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba scored a penalty but was injured in the draw with Burnley (Martin Rickett/PA)

“But you have to start properly in each game and today we didn’t start off well enough to cause Burnley enough problems.

“We know they’re well organised, we know they’re happy if we keep crossing the ball so we needed more tempo and more urgency in the play and play our way into the box more.

“In the second half at times I thought we did fantastic in that respect but Tom (Heaton) is a good keeper and they headed the ball away when they crossed it but they found a way in the end.”

United’s evening ended on a possible sour note as midfielder Pogba was seen limping through the mixed zone after appearing to take a knock.

Sean Dyche
Burnley manager Sean Dyche was not happy with the amount of added time played at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Dyche feels that vitalised a crowd accustomed to late goals under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He said: “I have no clue where a mystery five minutes came from, I don’t think anyone in the stadium did, everyone in the stadium had a gasp as to where the five minutes has come from.

“In these parts for the history of this club, when five minutes goes up, everyone believes. I asked the officials and they didn’t give me a very valid reason. They seemed to come from somewhere.”

Dyche also felt Lindelof may have been offside in the build-up to his leveller, adding: “When (Alexis) Sanchez wins the header, Lindelof is marginally offside and as it comes off the keeper, he finishes it. That’s a nice debate for everyone, at least.”

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