Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given the Manchester United players “hope” since he was appointed caretaker manager in December, according to Eric Bailly.
The Norwegian’s dream start to the job came to an end against Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford, with the Ligue 1 leaders winning 2-0 to take control of the Champions League last-16 tie.
That ended an unbeaten run of 11 for United under Solskjaer , 10 of which had been victories that had moved them back into the top four in the Premier League and into the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Bailly admitted the first defeat of Solskjaer‘s reign was a “big disappointment”, but said the team had reached a new level under their caretaker boss.
“Yes of course. he gives us hope. He is trying to build us back up again. We are playing with all our effort,” the central defender said.
United started brightly against PSG, but injuries to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard struck just before half-time and the visitors took advantage of a reshuffled side after the break, scoring through Pascal Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe.
“It’s difficult, it’s a big disappointment. We were off to a good start,” said Bailly.
“In the first half we were fine. We conceded a goal from a set piece and took a blow to our morale. Then we conceded a second goal.
“Now we’re going to forget about this game. There are more matches to come and think about in the future.”
Bailly revealed United were looking to play on the counter-attack at Old Trafford, a tactic that suited the pace and energy of Marcus Rashford , Martial and Lingard.
But the injuries to two of the front three hindered that approach and when Nemanja Matic lost Kimpembe for the first goal it put United on the back foot.
“We played on our strengths,” added Bailly. “We played on the counter-attack. The first half we were good, we defended well. On a mistake, we conceded the first goal.
“After that, the team tried to give its best. Unfortunately, the second goal came next, so it’s a shame.”