United went 1-0 down inside just 15 minutes on a rain-soaked night at the Jan Breydel Stadium when a long ball from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet beat Solskjaer’s defence and saw Emmanuel Dennis lift the ball over a stranded Sergio Romero.
Anthony Martial got an equaliser before half-time with an incisive run and finish, although clear cut chances were ultimately few and far between thereafter in what was a rather dull game.
“It was a difficult game against a well-organised team in difficult conditions. I don’t think it was one of the best games that anyone’s seen,” Solskjaer said post-match, via the Daily Mail.
“A bit sloppy concentration-wise, but the conditions with the pitch and the ball makes it hard. It’s just different and difficult to play with – you can get one and try! It’s light. But it’s the same for the two teams, of course. But the conditions weren’t nice, the wind and the rain.”
January signing Bruno Fernandes appeared from the bench for the final 10 minutes and made a positive impact with his vision and forward passing. But United had earlier struggled for creativity and Martial cut a lonely figure for too long.
“We didn’t create enough, or we didn’t make enough runs in behind to create space for Anthony and it was a frustrating night for him until then,” Solskjaer said of his goalscorer.
United’s away goal means they hold a slight advantage ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford next Thursday (27 February). Before then, however, the team must face Watford in the Premier League on Sunday and make sure a recent victory against Chelsea does not go to waste.
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