Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United at John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield, the UK, on May 5 2019. Picture: ALEX LIVESEY/GETTY IMAGES
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United at John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield, the UK, on May 5 2019. Picture: ALEX LIVESEY/GETTY IMAGES

London — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United “will put it right” after conceding a late goal against Southampton on Monday to dent their hopes of reaching next season’s Champions League.

United were on course for a fifth successive Premier League victory after bouncing back from Stuart Armstrong’s early opener through strikes from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

But just as third place beckoned for Solskjaer’s men, Saints substitute Michael Obafemi struck in stoppage time to seal a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

Earlier on Monday the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced that Manchester City’s two-season European ban would be lifted, meaning only the top four teams will qualify for next season’s Champions League.

United’s next two games are against Crystal Palace and West Ham before a potential last-day shoot-out against Leicester, who are in fourth place, ahead of Solskjaer’s men on goal difference.

“I have to say the mentality of the boys has been brilliant,” said the Norwegian boss. “We’ve had a few setbacks over the season, of course, and this is another challenge for us.

“I am very confident in the mentality of them. Very disappointed, of course, but we have to take the disappointments as well as the positives when you win games. We’ve learnt a hard lesson today hopefully, so we’ll make it right, we’ll put it right. I trust the boys in that respect.” 

Solskjaer’s side need to quickly dust themselves down, with a trip to Crystal Palace coming up on Thursday before they return to London for Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea.

Left-back Luke Shaw is a doubt for those games after being forced off with an ankle complaint, while United ended the match with 10 men after his replacement Brandon Williams was involved in a clash of heads.

Southampton’s performances since the restart are a credit to manager Ralph Hasenhuettl, and the team has the potential to finish in the top half of the table next season, club great Matt Le Tissier says.

Southampton have lost just once since the league resumed, winning three matches and drawing twice.

“It’s professional pride, but it’s also what the manager instils in them, wants from them and demands from them,” said Le Tissier, who scored 209 goals for Southampton during his 16 years at the club.

Hasenhuettl guided Southampton to a 1-0 win over second-placed Manchester City earlier in July and Le Tissier said their form against the top sides showed what they could accomplish.

“When you look at what we’ve been capable of in the past few weeks — we’ve just played City at home, Manchester United away, Everton away,” he said.

“Unbeaten with five points, you look at that and think if you take that form into next season, what can we realistically achieve? From what I’ve seen, I’d expect a top-half finish.”

Southampton, who are 12th, host Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday.

AFP, Reuters

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