Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismissed the notion that Manchester United’s semi-final issue under his management is becoming psychological.
United’s 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Man City was the fourth time under Solskjaer that the Reds have slipped up in a semi-final — and the second time in as many years they have lost to City in the League Cup last four. United were also beaten by Sevilla and Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Europa League and FA Cup respectively last season.
But Solskjaer, speaking to Sky Sports after watching his side lose to John Stones and Fernandinho goals at Old Trafford, insisted United have simply been beaten by better teams on all four occasions.
“We played against a very good Man City team, definitely,” he said about Pep Guardiola’s visitors. “They played well. And when they play well, you have to play very well to beat them, that’s just the reality of where we’re at. We’re just lacking that little bit.
“I think when you lose a semi-final and when you lose against an opponent, you think they deserved it. But we’re getting closer. This is a much better version of Man United than a year ago, in those semis. So that’s positive but it’s not enough.”
Solskjaer then dismissed the reporter’s suggestion that United’s problem with semi-final defeats could be affecting them mentally.
“It’s not psychological,” he said. “It’s just sometimes you meet good teams in the semis and we just didn’t have enough. We met, at the moment, probably the best team in England and we just didn’t have enough today.
“We wanted a final to look forward to as it would give us an extra boost. But it’s not to happen, then you’ve got to dust this off, use the night to get the disappointment away and then we’ve got big league games [against] Burnley, Liverpool. And within a month suddenly Europa League is here again. There’s loads of things to play for.”
Solskjaer bemoaned United’s loss of concentration at two set-pieces, which allowed Stones and Fernandinho to net the vital goals on the night.
He added: “When you concede two set-plays, simple ones which we should have cleared, you’re very disappointed. And of course, just not good enough in those moments.
“We didn’t [do enough to win the game], clearly we didn’t. We didn’t create enough big games ourselves. We weren’t good enough today and when you concede two set plays that’s very disappointing.”