CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Solskjaer accepts blame for Man Utd's Champions League exit

Manchester United lost to RB Leipzig to exit the Champions League and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the manager always has to take full blame.

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Solskjaer takes blame for Man Utd's Champions League exit

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken responsibility for Manchester United's Champions League elimination, admitting his side failed to play as a team in their 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig.

United – who only required a draw to reach the last 16 – fell behind inside 109 seconds and were two down with 13 minutes on the clock as they struggled to adapt to a tweaked five-man back-line on Tuesday.

Angelino scored the opener and the Manchester City loanee set up Amadou Haidara for the second goal, before Justin Kluivert's clipped finish gave last season's semi-finalists further breathing space.

Solskjaer's United rallied late on thanks to Bruno Fernandes' penalty and substitute Paul Pogba's header in the space of 135 seconds, but they could not find the equaliser needed to send them through.

Maguire blames players not Solskjaer

Despite skipper Harry Maguire absolving Solskjaer of any blame for his choice of tactics, instead pointing the finger at United's poor defending for all three goals, the Norwegian held his hands up for the costly loss.

"I look back and look at this season and look at the players and actually admire them for being as ready as they are at times," Solskjaer said during his post-match news conference.

"Today, it didn't work for us. It is a difficult season, there are difficult circumstances this year and we were up for it. And the character and effort I can't fault.

"We didn't perform as a team well enough and that's always the manager's responsibility, to get everyone ready.

"We knew they were going to come at us, we knew they were going to put crosses in the box and unfortunately we conceded two goals and never got going."

Too little, too late

Leipzig were given a scare at the Red Bull Arena, requiring a reaction stop from Peter Gulacsi in the final seconds to prevent Nordi Mukiele from putting the ball into his own net and making it 3-3.

Bundesliga high-flyers Leipzig are now in Monday's draw for the knockout phase and head coach Julian Nagelsmann praised his players for digging deep to advance along with Paris Saint-Germain.

"It was really intense at the end, but we played a good game for long spells," he said. "The players implemented our plan well, especially in the first half. 

"The boys fought hard. I said before the game that they are machines and they showed that again tonight."

Disappointed with decisions

Nagelsmann was unhappy with United's two goals, claiming Ibrahima Konate's challenge on Mason Greenwood should not have resulted in a penalty, moments before Pogba's header deflected in off the body of Maguire.

"We should not concede the penalty - we have to defend it better," he said. "But for me it's not a mandatory penalty - it's a normal duel in the box. 

"On the second goal, I also believe that Maguire's hand went to the ball. I've seen four perspectives and it's hard to see, but I think it was handball and shouldn't have counted either, though it doesn't matter now."