United manager Solskjaer
United manager Solskjaer. Image Credit: AP

Manchester: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his players to be more ruthless in open play, saying they are better in penalty shoot-outs than in games at the moment.

Despite recording 31 attempts on goal, United needed penalties to avoid a League Cup embarrassment against third-tier outfit Rochdale at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James all converted penalties in a 5-3 shoot-out win but United left the pitch rather sheepishly, with their progress to the fourth round masking another disappointing performance.

“We go 1-0 up in many games and, today again, we go 1-0 up and you think go on then, get the second, which is the key now,” Solskjaer told reporters.

“We handled it (the shoot-out) really well. Everyone wanted to take penalties as they did against AC Milan in Cardiff (during pre-season).

“I’m very pleased with the confidence. You know we’re better in penalty shoot-outs than in proper games.” Greenwood was one of only few positives for United after 17-year-old striker recovered from tonsillitis to score for the second time in less than a week, staking his claim for a starting berth against Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday.

“Mason Greenwood has two great feet. He’s a nightmare for defenders ... he can go both ways,” Solskjaer said.

“You can just see that he’s got quality. He will get his share of games. He’s young and we have to allow him to grow.” Solskjaer confirmed Marcus Rashford’s groin injury is not as bad as initially feared and the England forward can return within the next two weeks.

Rashford came off injured in the 2-0 defeat at West Ham United last weekend.

“He’s not very, very bad,” Solskjaer told MUTV. “We hope to see him before the international break.”

Liverpool will host Arsenal and Chelsea face United in two blockbuster fourth-round ties.

The draw for the last 16 produced two eye-catching ties as Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders take on the Gunners at Anfield and struggling United head to Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool, who have won the competition a record eight times, beat Milton Keynes Dons 2-0 to reach the fourth round, while Arsenal thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0.

In contrast to United’s latest disjointed effort, last season’s runners-up Chelsea hammered Grimsby 7-1.

Southampton’s prize for a first win at local rivals Portsmouth in 35 years is a trip to holders Manchester City.

There were also all-Premier League ties between Everton and Watford and Aston Villa and Wolves.

The two lowest-ranked sides left in the competition, fourth tier pair Crawley and Colchester, were drawn together.

Leicester will travel to Burton, while in an all-League One clash Oxford will host Sunderland.

Fourth-round draw

Everton v Watford

Manchester City v Southampton

Crawley v Colchester

Oxford v Sunderland

Aston Villa v Wolves

Burton v Leicester

Chelsea v Manchester United

Liverpool v Arsenal