Teammates in the past, the reactions of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Roy Keane, pundit for Sky Sports, were totally contrasting after a 0-0 draw against Manchester City on Saturday evening.

While Solskjaer pushed the idea that it was a good result for United, Keane was eager to point out the meekness of the evening game.

Both teams were completely content with a dull draw. Playing in front of an empty stadium, it was an utterly uninspiring Manchester derby, the 183rd to be played between the sides.

No fan can expect Solskjaer to come out and heavily criticise his team’s performance, but the reaction of him and his players was a little disheartening.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:  Manchester United Head Coach / Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts to Fred of Manchester United at the end of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on December 12, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution.
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Solskjaer claims United put in “best performance” vs City

“In my time against Manchester City that’s the best performance we have had,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “Not the best result but the best performance.”

“It was a tight game. I know we beat them a few times last season but those were different games. They had a few big moments.

“It’s two good teams. Tactically we knew they were going to give us some problems but defensively we were excellent. I’m delighted with the defensive shape. With the ball we didn’t create as much as we wanted to.”

 

United “happy with a draw,” says manager Solskjaer

“They probably had the bigger moments in open play. Everyone should be happy with a draw.

“Its a mental challenge when that happens to you [being knocked out of Champions League]. The mental energy you spend trying to recover from Tuesday is huge.”

Keane was less than impressed, and on this occasion had every right to be so.

“I’ve never seen so many hugs and chats after a derby game,” he said on Sky.

Keane highlights lack of intensity in dull 0-0 derby

It’s not a sin to be friendly with opposition players, particularly in the modern game, but it was indicative of a game without intensity or passion.

Solskjaer normally speaks a very good game. This wasn’t a shocking statement from the Norwegian because United did play alright and defended well. But they missed the chance to take the game to City. Any element of desire and intensity and United, or City had they had it, would have won the Saturday game.

For now, it’s a safe result for United. Solskjaer was a safe pair of hands when he was brought in as interim but this was one of the cases where he could have pushed the boat out a bit. It took him until the 70th-minute to make a change in a game where United were stuttering the more it progressed.

Have something to tell us about this article?