Belfast Telegraph

So near but yet so VAR for Solskjaer

Ollie day: Oliver McBurnie blasts Sheffield United’s last gasp equaliser to deny Manchester United victory at Bramall Lane
Ollie day: Oliver McBurnie blasts Sheffield United’s last gasp equaliser to deny Manchester United victory at Bramall Lane

By Sean Taylor

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to become embroiled in a VAR controversy as his side were denied victory by a video technology check in a dramatic 3-3 draw at Sheffield United.

Solskjaer did show his frustration at the finish but insisted his young team will have learned some valuable lessons after they battled back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 only to be denied when VAR ruled out a hand ball appeal over Oliver McBurnie's last-minute equaliser.

The Reds were abysmal in the first half and fortunate to only be behind to John Fleck's strike.

Solskjaer admitted he was angry at half-time and his mood would not have improved when Lys Mousset doubled the hosts' lead early in the second half.

But they scored three times in a sparkling seven minute spell to lead 3-2 with 11 minutes left.

However, the Norwegian took some comfort from a sparkling seven-minute spell his side produced to turn the game on its head as goals from Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford had the Reds in front with 79 minutes on the clock.

Solskjaer was denied a sixth victory in the last seven matches by Oliver McBurnie’s last-minute equaliser but he believes he and his players can take some positives from what had been a dire situation.

“It was a very poor performance. I’m thinking back to Everton last season — that team gave up and this team didn’t. So when we turned it around it’s a great response to get from the boys,” said the United boss.

“We did play badly in the first half. We didn’t win any challenges, we weren’t first to the ball, we didn’t stick to what we had planned. I could have changed all the players at half-time, except David (De Gea) as he kept us in it.

“You don’t expect them to give up, but last year we did. Today we didn’t. Even though the big part of this game is a negative and we are disappointed with it, the overriding feeling is a positive because of the character to stick in there and turn it around.”

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was left to rue the seven-minute spell that turned the match in the visitors’ favour. However, he was also pleased with the way his team responded to that disappointment by striking back to earn a point.

Wilder said: “Can we forget about that period, please? We just dropped off our energy levels.

“And you’ve got to give them credit, just as you have us with the way we fought ourselves back at the death to get ourselves something out of the game.

“It just flicked a switch for them when they got back into the game at 2-1, with what, from our point of view, is a goal out of nothing. I would have been really disappointed had we not got anything from this game because for the majority of the time we were right up there in terms of the performance levels.”

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