Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called on the club’s owners to bolster his squad after a 2-1 loss at home to Leicester on Tuesday confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions.
Second-placed United, who had to beat the Foxes to maintain their fading title hopes, fell behind to Luke Thomas’ 10th-minute goal at Old Trafford.
Mason Greenwood equalised just five minutes later but Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu’s second-half header saw Leicester to a win that boosted their bid for a Champions League place and set them up for this weekend’s FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.
Defeat left United 10 points behind City, with only a maximum of nine available to the Red Devils from their three remaining league games this season.
The Glazers, United’s Florida-based owners, have been the target of bitter demonstrations by supporters in recent weeks as a result of their role in trying to take the club into the aborted European Super League.
One protest even saw United supporters break into Old Trafford ahead of a match against arch-rivals Liverpool, causing the fixture to be postponed.
But the Glazers have backed United managers in the transfer market during their controversial time in charge and Solskjaer urged them to make more funds available in a bid to get on terms with Abu Dhabi-backed City.
“If you want to take up the challenge with them (City) we need to strengthen our squad,” Solskjaer told BT Sport.
“Congratulations to them. They have had a fantastic season. I am very pleased with my boys that have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe.
“We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad.”
Former United striker Solskjaer, faced with a schedule of three games in five days, had promised to rotate his squad.
And the Norwegian was as good as his word, making 10 changes to the side that beat Aston Villa 3-1, with Greenwood the only player to retain his starting position.
“It can’t be like this again,” said Solskjaer. “We can’t play like Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday to Thursday, it is impossible that’s the reason we made the changes. It’s unheard of.”
Leicester’s victory meant the Midlands club leapfrogged Champions League finalists Chelsea into third place, although the London club have a game in hand, with the top four at the end of the Premier League season guaranteed a place among Europe’s elite next term.
– ‘Perfect platform’ –
The Foxes have yet to win the FA Cup but manager Brendan Rodgers said this win was the ideal preparation for Saturday’s showpiece match.
“It’s the perfect platform to get the three points at this magnificent club,” he told the BBC.
“We know we are playing a top team. Tonight was the Europa League finalists, now at the weekend it is the Champions League finalists.
“But we will be ready and let’s see if we can make history,” he added.
United defender Harry Maguire missed his first league match since joining from Leicester in 2019 after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s comeback win at Villa Park.
As rain lashed down upon Old Trafford, it was the visitors who took a 10th-minute lead thanks to a superb finish from Thomas, who volleyed a centre from Youri Tielemans back across goal and into the top right-hand corner.
United, however, drew level through Greenwood’s low shot before Soyuncu rose above Nemanja Matic in the 66th minute to head powerfully into the root of the net from a corner.
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