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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was relieved to see his Manchester United charges struggle past West Bromwich Albion in a game the manager admitted saw them far from their best.
Bruno Fernandes' second-half penalty proved the difference between the two sides at Old Trafford on Saturday, the Portugal midfielder stepping up to net his sixth goal of the Premier League season after the decision was consulted by VAR.
The 1-0 win moves the Red Devils up to ninth place in the standings, building on their impressive victory over Everton in the final match before the international break.
Saturday's showing was far less eye-catching, but Solskjaer was pleased to take all three points from the match.
"It’s definitely not a step forward," the Norwegian admitted to reporters after the final whistle.
"Performance-wise we played really well against Everton, that’s a performance I was really happy with. But this one was way below par butwe got the first win at home.
"Sometimes three points is more important than the performance. We know we need to get points and move up the table and we have to play better.
"The first game after the international break is never easy, there's not much time to prepare the game.
"We know we can play better than this and certainly could have made it comfortable if we had taken chances early on and toward the end.
"When you don’t do that there’s’ always an edge. It's important to get the win but wedidn’t have the composure or quality to get the second goal that would have made it more comfortable."
With three assists to his name as wellFernandes has been directly involved in nine of the 13 goals United have mustered in this season's Premier League, and Solskjaer had high praise for his midfield lynchpin - particularly when it comes to converting from the spot.
"It says everything, it should be said if you play for Manchester United you should never be afraid of taking a penalty," he added.