Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoyed the perfect start to his reign as Manchester United caretaker manager, as the Reds swept to a highly promising 5-1 win away at Cardiff City.
The Norwegian was delighted with the attacking intent shown by his side, and was particularly pleased with the speed of the forward play and the foundation given to the performance by the back four.
A FANTASTIC RESPONSE
“I arrived Wednesday night so I had Thursday, Friday with them. I think maybe all the texts from Wazza [Wayne Rooney] helped us today! He just told us to make the players enjoy their football, smile, go forward, and just be Man United, and that’s what I asked them for, because it’s been a tough week for them, and a tough week for me. There’s been loads of things swirling round the heads, so they’ve responded fantastically.”
“We want them to approach every single game the same – combination play, and we want them to play it forward. Of course, every game gives you different challenges and I think the foundation was in the defending. I thought the two centre-backs and the two full-backs were absolutely brilliant.”
WE HAVE GREAT QUALITY
“It’s a great dressing room. Footballers want to give the best for the club. They’ve got the Manchester United badge on their shirts and there’s a reason for that, because they’re quality players and that’s why they’re at the club. When you come in and you meet new people, you’re excited yourself and, to be fair, last night was the best night I’ve had sleeping-wise because suddenly I felt that I can settle down. They’ve really helped, and Kieran [McKenna] and Michael [Carrick] have been fantastic in the dressing room as well.”
OUR POST-MATCH INTERVIEW WITH SOLSKJAERVIDEO
ONE GAME AT A TIME
“We take one game at a time now. We’ve caught up eight, nine points before from teams and you’ve got to go one game at a time. We’ve got Huddersfield [on] Boxing Day. Let the boys enjoy tonight and then we’ll look forward.”
WORK TO DO
“You can’t do anything else than focus on the next training session and work on a few bits because there’s still work to be done. Me and Mick [Phelan] have come in with some ideas and we just want to keep plugging away, little by little.”
FEAR FACTOR MUST COME BACK AT OT
“That’s important because when I played at Old Trafford, you felt at home. You walked out onto that pitch and even though in the 90th minute you haven’t scored, you still think ‘We can win this’. This doesn’t happen every game. It just doesn’t happen that you score in the first three minutes and you score five goals. So days will come when we hit the post instead of the inside, so it’s just that patience and never-give-up attitude that teams fear at Old Trafford.”
PROUD TO LEAD UNITED OUT
“Yeah, of course. If you have the honour of walking out leading a Man United team out at Old Trafford, you’ve got to look forward to that.”
Scoring big on the first day – the best of the stats
Since Ferguson left the club, four of the five different managers to take charge of United have seen their side score three or more goals in their first Premier League game (Moyes 4, Mourinho 3, Giggs 4 and Solskjaer 5).Warnock suffered his 50th Premier League defeat, in what was his 92nd game in the competition – only Mick McCarthy (79), Danny Wilson (87) and Gary Megson (91) have reached 50 defeats in fewer games managed Cardiff have lost each of their past 14 Premier League games against ‘big six’ opponents, conceding 45 goals in this run. Martial has been directly involved in 70 goals for United in all competitions (45 goals, 25 assists); the most of any player for the club since his debut in September 2015. Rashford has had a hand in more Premier League goals this season than any other United player (9 – four goals and five assists).United’s third goal against Cardiff scored by Anthony Martial was the 500th netted in the Premier League this season. Martial made his 100th appearance for United in the Premier League, becoming just the fourth Frenchman to reach this tally for the club after Eric Cantona, Mikael Silvestre and Patrice Evra.