Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended Aaron Wan-Bissaka after Joe Cole said he was ‘screaming’ at the defender during Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Brighton.
Wan-Bissaka was given a torrid time throughout by the Seagulls’ Solly March, who hit the post at one stage before scoring a late equaliser that looked to have salvaged a draw at the Amex.
March made it 2-2 in the fourth minute of added time, evading the visitors’ defence to head home at the back post after a cross from United’s left-hand side.
It would have been a deserved point for Graham Potter’s side, but it wasn’t to be as Bruno Fernandes fired home a last-gasp penalty after Neal Maupay was adjudged to have handballed.
BT Sport pundit Cole criticised Wan-Bissaka’s defensive work after the game, saying he was “caught three or four” times as Brighton failed to take advantage of a raft of chances.
But United boss Solskjaer jumped to the defence of his right-back, calling on his players to defend from the front and offer more protection.
“We’ve got our team shape and we don’t stop enough crosses down that left-hand side and we allow too many crosses in,” Solskjaer said at his post-match press conference.
“It’s also down to the team shape here and the sharpness. For me, we need to work harder from the front to stop crosses or from the sides.”
Solskjaer said Wan-Bissaka is working on defending back-post crosses of the sort that led to March’s leveller – and insisted one of the 22-year-old’s strength sis his willingness to learn.
“Aaron is improving as a defender – he is one of the best one-vs-one, he is practising defending back stick and he is a joy to work with.”
Solskjaer added: “He wants to learn so he’ll improve. Of course the chance towards the end he’ll need help from other players at the back stick.
“Every player in this league has got strengths and weaknesses and we all know Aaron’s strengths. But one of his strengths is he wants to learn and wants to improve.”
United face Brighton at the Amex again in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash – and Cole said Wan-Bissaka and his teammates will have to improve their defending.
Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already brought in Donny van de Beek but Jadon Sancho remains Manchester United’s number one target.
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“Solly March found himself in this position on numerous occasions,” said the former Chelsea and England midfielder.
“I’m here and I was screaming at Wan-Bissaka: ‘Look over your shoulder, look over your shoulder!’ He had a warning.
“One of the things we picked up 20 minutes before that happened was Wan-Bissaka’s body shape in that situation… he got caught three or four times.
“You don’t get the chance at this level to be given a warning that many times.
“They deserved at least a point out of this game, Brighton, and you do feel for them.”