EUROPA LEAGUE

Solskjaer praises teenage pair as United win in Belgrade

James Garner and Brandon Williams put in performances that pleased coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in Manchester United’s 0-1 win at Partizan.

Solskjaer praises teenage pair as United win in Belgrade
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC AFP

Manchester United remain top of their Europa League qualifying group after securing just the result they wanted as guests of Partizan in Belgrade. Anthony Martial fired in the game’s only goal from the penalty spot just before half-time to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men all three points. And it was a special evening for 18-year-old midfielder James Garner making his full debut and also 19-year-old Brandon Williams – in just his second outing in the competition. Both players were singled out by Solskjaer for their performances.

Solskjaer pleased with United newcomers

“I thought Jimmy grew into the game and did really well in the end. He was a bit tired of course which is only natural. Brandon? Man of the Match - absolutely excellent. Fantastic attitude, great defending, great in the air, brave… he gets us the penalty by his driving forward with the ball so we’ve found a left-back there!” the United coach said.

Manchester United's James Garner in action against Partizan

Solskjaer was less pleased with how United defended as a team, but satisfied with a result which puts his side closer to a place in the knockout round – even after Alkmaar thrashed Astana 6-0 in the other group game. “Second half I thought we dug in really well – in the box. We defended really well in the box. They played well in the second half and made us defend too deep. I wasn’t happy with the defending at the front… I think that has been one of our fortes and strengths this season but it was nonexistent in the second half. That needs sorting out because we don’t want to be a team that just defends inside our own box.

United top Group L on seven points at the midway stage with a two-point lead over Alkmaar. They welcome Partizan to Old Trafford in the next game on 7 November.