Solskjaer praises young Man United stars despite defeat
Photo by Stringer via Getty Images

Manchester United lost 2-1 against Astana in the Europa League, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was still impressed with his young side. 

Jesse Lingard fired United into the lead before the home side turned the game around in the second half. 

Youthful side 

United had already booked their place in the last-32, so they took an inexperienced squad to Kazakhstan. 

The Red Devils named nine academy graduates and seven teenagers in their starting line-up. 

Solskjaer even gave first-team debuts to Dylan Levitt, Di'Shon Bernard and Ethan Laird

The starting Xl had an average age of 22 years and 26 days, and it was the youngest United team ever to play in Europe. 

Fellow academy graduates D'mani Mellor, Largie Ramazani and Ethan Galbraith also debuted off the bench. 

Promising signs

United started the game brightly with Garner and Levitt impressing in the midfield pivot. 

The pair looked composed on the ball and they controlled the tempo in the first half. 

Laird also showed great energy down the right flank, and he created some opportunities for his teammates.  

Bernard did well in the opening period but the defender then had a moment to forget, as he inadvertently put the ball into his own net. 

"They were excellent"

Solskjaer has promoted several young players this season, and he was impressed with United's debutantes against Astana. 

The manager also believes that they are now knocking on the door to the first team. 

"The full debuts from Ethan, Di'Shon and Dylan. I thought all three of them were excellent," Solskjaer said. 

"Some of them are also knocking on the door for us. You could see the way we dominated midfield, Jimmy [Garner] and Dylan playing together, it's nice to see midfielders dominating the game.

"Di'Shon was so composed, Ethan was marauding down the right-hand side, especially in the first-half. So some of these have done themselves a good favour."

United will complete their group stage campaign at home to AZ Alkmaar on December 12th.

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