Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has spoken to his players about their tendency to start games slowly and joked that he has written to the Premier League to ask to kick-off matches a goal down.

Solskjaer rapped his team for their slow start in the 1-0 defeat to West Ham United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday. They also conceded the first goal against David Moyes’ side at the London Stadium on Sunday and at Southampton in August and Solskjaer admits it’s becoming a problem.

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“We need to start games better of course,” said Solskjaer ahead of Aston Villa‘s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday. “I’ve sent a letter to the Premier League asking if we can start games 1-0 down, it’ll make things so much easier for us.

“Joking apart, it’s a big big part of the game and we need to start better, we can’t expect to come back and win games as we have done fantastically in the last 12, 14, 15 months but it’s going to catch up with us.

“It’s been looked at and talked about and hopefully we can see a response.”

Solskjaer is set to recall his first team regulars against Villa after making a host of changes in midweek. Cristiano Ronaldo will return up front after starting his second spell at United with four goals in three games.

The 36-year-old signed a two-year contract after moving from Juventus but Solskjaer believes the Portuguese superstar could even extend his stay in Manchester.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he still played when he’s 40, not at all,” said the Norwegian. “The way he looks after himself is key and there must be some genes or DNA in there but he’s put every single ounce of energy and effort into becoming the player he is.

“He deserves every plaudit he gets for his physical state. What’s more impressive is when he’s achieved as much as he has that he is still as hungry, his mentality is still absolutely spot on.”

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