Ex-Man Utd assistant McClaren jumps to Solskjaer's defence after 'massive overreaction' to Crystal Palace defeat

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd 2019-20
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The former Old Trafford coach says it is far too early to judge the Norwegian boss amid the tight scheduling caused by the coronavirus pandemic

Ex-Manchester United assistant Steve McClaren has jumped to the defence of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the "massive overreaction" to his side's loss to Crystal Palace.

Solskjaer has overseen gradual progress at Old Trafford since being installed as the club's permanent manager in March 2019.

The Norwegian has added the likes of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes to his ranks while bringing the best out of previously inconsistent stars Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, with a view to bringing back the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson's 27-year reign.

United managed to secure a third-place finish and Champions League qualification last season, while reaching three major semi-finals, with Solskjaer widely praised for implementing an attacking philosophy that had been abandoned under his predecessors Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal.

However, a lack of activity during the summer transfer window has led to a tense atmosphere among supporters, and frustrations boiled over following the Red Devils' 3-1 humbling at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Many fans and experts are now calling for Solskjaer's head after the club's first opening day defeat in six years, but McClaren feels he has been subjected to unfair criticism after a significantly reduced pre-season.

The former United coach told talkSPORT when quizzed on their display against Palace: “It’s a massive overreaction, it’s their first game of the season. As Sir Alex used to say, you never win something in September, October, November.

“Manchester United, since that semi-final have had two weeks rest, two weeks preparation, one game and they expect to produce a performance of the level of which they ended last season which let’s not forget was an incredible finish to the season – top four, semi-final of Europa.

“I think, yes, United were poor. Was it expected? Yeah, I think behind the scenes Ole will say ‘we’re not ready’. It’s not an excuse. They haven’t had enough preparation time, let’s judge them in five/ten games. That’s what I always say. Then you can say it’s not right, but after one? Nah, you have to wait.

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“He has been given time, you’re judged by results, you’re judged by your signings and so far they’ve been patient with their signings. They’ve been good and they’ll get better.”

The Red Devils are due back in action on Tuesday night, with a trip to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in the third-round of the EFL Cup.

Solskjaer will then start preparing his players for another tough away fixture against Brighton next weekend, which they can ill-afford to lose after bright starts to the season from their main Premier League rivals.

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