Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has underlined the importance of not “pressing the panic button” as Manchester United look to bounce back from their chastening Champions League exit against bitter rivals Manchester City.
Europa League football awaits United in the new year after the Red Devils stumbled in Germany, where Tuesday’s agonising 3-2 defeat at RB Leipzig sealed their fate as a stunning start to Group H counted for nothing.
It was a gut punch that the Solskjaer’s side need to pick themselves up from on Saturday evening as rivals Manchester City head across town to Old Trafford in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola’s men are in the unusual position of starting the game behind a United side that can welcome back Anthony Martial and may be able to call upon Edinson Cavani.
“Of course the group was disappointed on Tuesday night,” manager Solskjaer said on the eve of the derby. “It’s just natural.
“We really wanted to go through in that tournament. Now the reality is we’re not, then we’ve just got to move on.
“(Manchester City) is probably the best game that you can ask for after such a disappointment because it does stick in your system.
“It’s important not to press the panic button every time because you know in football you can’t win every single game,” Solskjaer said of dealing with setbacks.
City manager Pep Guardiola understands the sentiment. “We know it,” he said. “That’s why we get a lot of salary, for these situations.
“I don’t have to give him (Solskjaer) support because he’s strong enough, he knows how it works in this job. When we win,we are a genius; and when we lose we have to be sacked.
“It happens in United and all the clubs around the world. It is the reality.”
Guardiola, speaking at his pre-match press conference, reaffirmed that Sergio Aguero was not ready to start the derby despite having made a goalscoring return from a knee injury as a substitute against Marseille in midweek.