A downcast Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United need to win five of their final six Premier League games to reach the top four after Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves.
The Red Devils’ hopes of securing Champions League football for next season received a devasting blow at the hands of Wolves on Tuesday night.
At one point, United seemed set to go third following Scott McTominay’s 13th-minute goal at Molineux. But Wolves fought back with Diogo Jota capitalising on Fred’s mistake to coolly slot in Raul Jimenez’s pass before the break.
United’s woes continued in the second half when captain Ashley Young was handed a second yellow and dismissed. A Chris Smalling own goal in the 77th-minute ultimately sealed their fate and handed Wolves a spectacular 2-1 comeback victory.
And Solskjaer, who lost for the first time as the full-time manager, rued his side’s inability to score more following some great saves by Wolves keeper Rui Patricio.
“We should have been three up,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.
“Could have, maybe should have. And we created our own downfall really. It was a very good performance until they scored the second goal.
“For 10 minutes after they equalised we seemed flustered but then we got back into it and but for their keeper we should have won this game.
“You cannot control the result can you? We can control what we do on the pitch, performance wise, and we have played well enough tonight, creating chances to win the game.
“This was always going to be a tough game and the performance deserved a win. That’s football. It’s not like maths. Some days you have the margins but today their keeper had a great performance.”
The loss leaves United tied with fourth-place Tottenham in the standings and two points Arsenal in third. Meanwhile, Chelsea are just a point behind in sixth-place.
But Solskjaer’s side have played a game more than all three London clubs and are at real risk of missing out on Champions League football.
As for where this leaves United’s hopes of finishing in the top-four, Solskjaer made it clear that 15 points out of the available 18 are a must now.
He added: “I said we needed 18 points from the last eight games following the international break.
“We got three against Watford and now we need 15 from the last six so we don’t have much more room for losses.”
For now, though, United must turn their full focus to next Wednesday’s first leg quarter-final clash with Barcelona at Old Trafford in the Champions League.