Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer endured a sour ending to his 100th Premier League game in charge after slack defending again cost his team home points in a 3-3 draw with Everton on Saturday.
United’s away league form has been outstanding this season but simple errors unbecoming of title contenders have led to four defeats at Old Trafford, most recently a 2-1 reverse to bottom team Sheffield United.
Manchester United took a 2-0 lead against the Toffees but amateurish defending allowed the visitors to wipe out the deficit and then snatch a draw with the last kick of the game from Dominic Calvert-Lewin after they had fallen behind again.
The result dented second-placed United’s hopes of winning their first league title since 2013 as it left them two points behind leaders Manchester City who have two games in hand.
Solskjaer reacted with a touch of defiance as he praised his team’s prolific scoring but could not ignore the disappointment of having to settle for a draw which tasted like defeat.
“We deserved to win the game but that is football for you, you have to take your chances and cannot concede with every shot,” he told the BBC.
“First half I did not feel we played particularly well but scored two fantastic goals. You go in at the break 2-0 up feeling we have not hit where we could do.
“After 2-2 we played really well then the last kick of the ball kicks us in the teeth and we go home disappointed.
“We have to focus on improving as a team. We are scoring more goals, creating chances and you felt you dominated the game and should have won it.”
United’s woes were compounded by a thigh injury to in-form midfielder Paul Pogba, who limped off in the first half after appearing to pull something when making a simple pass.
“It looks like a muscle injury, so we’ve just got to check him up tomorrow and have a scan and get him treatment,” Solskjaer told MUTV. “Hopefully he’ll recover quickly.”
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with his team’s effort and stressed they were punching above their weight to stay in contention for a top-four finish.
“It was like a win but it is just one point,” he said after the result moved his side above Chelsea into sixth on 37 points, three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand.
“We competed against one of the best in the Premier League. We are not at the same level but we can fight and compete with our qualities. I am proud of my team.
“We deserved it, even if we were shy in the first half. We played with more courage in the second half. We attacked and pressed forward. At the end, we deserved to have a point.”