Man Utd boss Solskjaer refuses to single out Lindelof despite error-strewn performance vs Palace
The Norwegian boss put the Red Devils' poor display against the Eagles down to a lack of match sharpness and called for patience from supporters
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to single out Victor Lindelof despite the defender's error-strewn performance against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Red Devils came into their Premier League opener protecting a 15-match unbeaten run stretching back to January, but looked well below their best after the short turnaround between seasons caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Palace built on a 1-0 win over Southampton last weekend by putting Solskjaer's men to the sword at Old Trafford, with an Andros Townsend strike and a brace from Wilfred Zaha wrapping up a 3-1 victory for Roy Hodgson's side.
Lindelof was included in the starting line up despite sitting out Sweden's UEFA Nation's League defeat to Portugal earlier this month due to fatigue, and failed to cover himself in glory on his return to competitive action.
The 26-year-old allowed Jeffrey Schlupp to provide the cross for Townsend's opener, and was outmuscled by Zaha when the ex-United winger rounded off the scoring in the 85th minute.
The Swede also conceded the penalty which allowed Zaha to double Palace's account, but Solskjaer was reluctant to blame the centre-back for a loss which served as solid proof of a lack of match fitness within his ranks.
"We all need games, we all need sharpness we all need time to get back to our best and I think we are going to get better," The Red Devils head coach said when quizzed on Lindelof's display post-match.
"But we are playing catch-up. Today we didn't defend as well as we could have done but I wouldn't want to point fingers at individuals."
Solskjaer went on to express his belief that Lindelof was wrongly penalised for a handball in the box, before admitting that the referee's "harsh" decision to allow the resulting penalty to be retaken after David de Gea kept out Jordan Ayew's initial effort was ultimately the correct one.
"I feel it is not a penalty because I think the ball comes from so close to Vic, where can he put his hands?" he said. "Then the decision to retake it was probably the right one if you follow the rules because David's heel, or both heels, were one inch off the line.
"It is harsh on David and us but probably the right decision if you follow the rules."
Solskjaer reserved praise for United's £35 million ($45m) summer signing Donny van de Beek, who came off the bench to net a debut goal following his switch from Ajax at the start of the month.
"He gave us a bit of belief that we could get something from the game," the Norwegian added. "Donny is bright, he sees space, he sees where the ball is going to land in the box and that is why we signed him.
"He has got that knack of finding the right areas in the box. We needed that. Not very often, but a few times we got round, put some crosses in and didn't have enough players in the box in the right areas."