Manchester United ‘will delay City’s title as long as we can’.

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Manchester United ‘will delay City’s title as long as we can’.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United will fight to delay Manchester City’s Premier League title celebrations “as long as we can”.

Defeat for United against Aston Villa on Sunday would have sealed City’s third title in four years, after the leaders lost to Chelsea on Saturday.

But Solskjaer’s side fought back to win 3-1 at Villa Park.

“At least we don’t travel back to a party on the blue side tonight,” the United boss stated.

Solskjaer, whose side are 10 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand, admitted United would have to pull off “the biggest upset in football history” to win a first Premier League title since 2013.

However, he added his players would take satisfaction from postponing City’s title confirmation further.

“That’s a good thing, that’s the best thing, at least we don’t drive into a blue army tonight,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “We’ll try to delay it as long as we can.”

The victory capped a good week for United, who reached their first final of the Solskjaer era as they set up a Europa League final against Villarreal – despite a 3-2 second-leg defeat away to Roma on Thursday.

The loss of Harry Maguire to injury on Sunday was, however, a concern for the United boss, who revealed he would have a scan on Monday.

On the extent of Maguire’s problem, Solskjaer said: “We have a final to look forward to. Hopefully it will be with Harry Maguire, who knows. It might be a few weeks, it might be a couple of days. It was his ankle, lower leg, the boy landed on it and twisted it.”

Smith angry with ‘pathetic’ penalty decision

United’s equaliser arrived from the penalty spot early in the second half after Douglas Luiz fouled Paul Pogba, allowing Bruno Fernandes to start his side’s comeback.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith described the decision to award the penalty as “pathetic” and compared it to an incident in Manchester City’s match on Saturday, in which Raheem Sterling was not awarded a penalty following a clumsy challenge by Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma.

“Everybody is confused how Raheem Sterling can go through and have four or five touches on him last night and not get a penalty, then one touch here and it is a penalty – it looked a pathetic decision to me, but he goes down, similar to Old Trafford and last season here,” Smith told Sky Sports.

Smith later saw striker Ollie Watkins dismissed for a second yellow card after he was penalised for simulation as he attempted to beat United goalkeeper Dean Henderson to the ball.

“Ollie Watkins has got sent off for a second yellow, there is no way the referee can tell me he is convinced he hasn’t been touched. I just don’t understand the decision-making of the officials and more importantly at Stockley Park,” added Smith.

“It looks like now he has to get hurt to win the penalty – is it enough contact for a penalty, no.”

Team-mate John McGinn said Watkins “is the most honest player in the league”, adding: “He goes down to protect himself, I think it is very harsh, I don’t know what he is meant to do.”

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