Trending stat: Bruno is second to which ex-Red?

Monday, 04 Jan, 2021

The manager told the club's official website: "Don't get me wrong, I am delighted with the three points and very happy with the performance but there are always things we need to improve on". They are learning and are hungry to learn which is important.

In the dying minutes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were forced to defend desperately with centre back Eric Bailly putting in a crucial stoppage-time block to deny Villa a draw.

"We needed to match them".

"We're a team that's still doing a lot of work on ourselves and to be looking at the table so early in the season is a bit stupid of us".

"We were really critical of them at the start of the season - well I was, and rightly so, because their home form was so bad".

Liverpool, 23/12/2020. Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar lt;HIT gt;Solskjaer lt;/HIT gt  speaks to Paul Pogba after the Carabao Cup quarter final mach between Everton and Manchester United in Liverpool Britain 23 December 2020
[Teams] Man Utd vs Aston Villa: Confirmed line-ups from Old Trafford

Since I arrived at City I expected United to be there all the time. We should have scored because we created some opportunities, especially second half, a few counter-attacks and we did have the chance to be more clinical and finish the game off. You lose the chance to be there or thereabouts in the first 10 games, you can lose the chance to be in a title race.

Sixth-placed Villa had only conceded three away goals in the league before arriving at Old Trafford and although they will feel aggrieved with the awarding of the penalty that brought United's victor - Smith believed Pogba had tripped himself up - they can certainly take some solace from their performance.

United had 19 shots on an evening that Villa managed 15, with Fernandes' penalty the difference after Douglas Luiz was adjudged to have brought down Paul Pogba. I thought both teams started really slow - the first 10 minutes nearly had a testimonial feel about it.

United look capable of mounting their first real Premier League title challenge since 2013, when they won their record-extending 20th crown in Alex Ferguson's last season in charge, but his former protege Solskjaer refused to get carried away.

However, despite their form and position, former Liverpool FC and Manchester United striker Owen played down the Red Devils' chances of winning the Premier League crown this term. United are now joint top with Liverpool, in second on goal difference.