Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that his side are nowhere near ready to start a new Premier League season after slumping to a 3-1defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Red Devils were second best throughout as goals from Andros Townsend and a Wilfried Zaha double led Palace to a well-deserved three points, with a strike from debutant Donny van de Beek the only positive for United.
The game came just 34 days after United ended the 2019/20 campaign with a defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals, and Solskjaer confessed (via the Manchester Evening News) that his team have not had enough time to prepare themselves for a new season.
“You can see we are short and they deserved the points,” Solskjaer said. “They were sharper than us in challenges, tackles. We started off slowly and that had a knock-on effect for the rest of the game when they got the first goal.
“We had a long season last season and we didn’t finish until 16 August and we have not had enough preparation time to be sharper. We’ve worked hard with the ones who’ve been here, there have been a few players away on internationals.
“I spoke to Roy [Hodgson] and he said they had four friendlies and this was their third competitive game, and it is a big difference to our one against Aston Villa last week.
“You have to make the most of the time you have got and we have already started playing catch-up, of course, and it showed. But we will improve quickly, hopefully quicker than we’ve seen today. Today was a performance that you don’t see very often from these players because these players are better than that.”
The defeat only intensified the pressure on the United board, who have faced plenty of criticism from fans for their lack of business in the transfer window.
United have focused their efforts on trying to sign Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and have failed to strengthen in other areas of the team, with Van de Beek the only new face at Old Trafford thus far, but Solskjaer added that they are still looking at finding new players.
“We can play so much better than today,” the boss said. “If you look at the players we had on the pitch and on the bench and not here today, we have to look within first and look at ourselves and know we can perform better.
“But we are always looking to improve if there is something out there that is available at the right price. We always want to strengthen. But we can all look ourselves in the mirror, instead.”