It was a dream start for the baby-faced assassin
Manchester United’s performance in Saturday evening’s defeat of Cardiff had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer understandably delighted.
Solskjaer was appointed the Old Trafford club’s caretaker manager earlier this week following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, and he took the Red Devils to Wales to face the the team he managed for a dreadful spell back in 2014
And not only did Solskjaer’s reign begin with a win, it was a win recorded in the most exceptional fashion, with United recording their first five-goal haul in a Premier League match since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in May 2013.
Jesse Lingard’s second-half brace complemented earlier efforts from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial as United won 5-1, with Victor Camarasa’s penalty a mere consolation for Cardiff.
Asked if there were any positives, Solskjaer laughed and said: “There’s quite a few!
“The attitude and application of the boys when you go out there and see them, the attitude has been fantastic, the dressing room, the way they approached this game.
“It’s been a difficult week for everyone and to get the focus and perform as well as they did impress.”
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Solskjaer praised his team from front to back in the Welsh capital and playfully pointed out that this was returning coach Mike Phelan’s first match in the dugout since United netted five in the league 2,043 days earlier.
The team certainly had a Ferguson era swagger about them, with Paul Pogba – one of four changes to the Liverpool loss – impressing behind the visitors’ rapid attacking trio.
“I’m pleased with all of them – every single one of them – but of course it’s a threat,” Solskjaer said.
“When you’ve got Martial and Jesse Lingard down either side, Rashford up top with Paul supporting them, it’s exhilarating to watch and as long as we keep that standard up we’ll keep up picking points.”
Solskjaer is excited to see what serious time on the training pitch brings and is hopeful about United’s chances of clawing back the gap to the Champions League spots.
“Well, we’ll take one game at a time but we’re eight points behind and we’ve caught up teams before at this club,” he said.
“Now, though, we’ve got to catch up a couple, but our job is to take one game at a time.
“Don’t look too far ahead but we always play well in second half of the season. Man United teams always do.”