Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Manchester United missed an opportunity against Liverpool after they played out a 0-0 draw with the champions on Sunday.
Premier League leaders United maintained a three-point advantage over their Anfield hosts after an uneventful encounter, as they stretched their unbeaten away league run to 16 matches.
Liverpool had 66 per cent of the possession and 17 shots to United’s eight, but they rarely had visiting goalkeeper David de Gea troubled.
Indeed, United had the best two chances in the second half, with Alisson saving from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba to preserve the Reds’ unbeaten home record in the top flight which has now reached 68 games.
Solskjaer thought his side did not show enough composure in possession and was disappointed they did not do more to test a makeshift centre-back pairing of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
Asked if United deserved to win, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: “No, we didn’t, because I don’t think we played well enough. We didn’t impose ourselves on the game, especially first half.
“I think we grew into the game and at the end, you felt ‘yeah, it’s here for us to win’. We created two massive chances and two brilliant saves by the keeper.
“We can play better than this – we know that. We can be more composed, have the ball more.
“We had to defend really often and I thought we gave the ball away too often, maybe some moments we missed, when Marcus [Rashford] makes his runs in behind, maybe sometimes we don’t pass it every time he runs and sometimes we missed it when he should have had it. [There are] a couple of things to improve on.
“I’ve got to be honest and say I’m a bit disappointed at the moment. We’re playing against a fantastic team and they had more of the possession, but still, you want to go here, you know the injuries they’ve had lately, you think you can go here and get a result. We didn’t, but a point might be okay if we win the next one.”
16 – Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 16 away matches in the Premier League (W12 D4) – only once have they gone longer without a defeat on the road in the competition (17 games ending in September 1999). Striving. #LIVMNU pic.twitter.com/oLl3lSdNPv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 17, 2021
When asked if United should have been braver, Solskjaer replied: “It depends on what you mean with bravery, in team selection or on the ball. I think we could have been better on the ball, been more quality, but I’d probably start with the same team, if that’s what you’re asking.
“I know we can play better but we’re still coming away with a point, which I think shows how far we’ve come in a year or even six months.
“Of course it’s a positive, you take a point, but you want to win every game so you can’t be sat or standing here smiling too much. But we go again. We know we can do better than this, which is the big positive.”
Pogba’s late opening was the best chance of the game, the France midfielder firing straight at Alisson after being set up by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
It was otherwise a strong performance from United’s record signing, who attempted more passes in the opposition half (22) than any team-mate and regained possession a joint-high nine times from an unorthodox role on the right wing.
“I think Paul was absolutely brilliant,” said Solskjaer. “We knew he had to do a job defensively, block and help us with [Andy] Robertson, and I thought he was excellent and he should have got the goal his performance deserved.”