Ole Gunnar Solskjaer laid down a serious case to become Manchester United’s next permanent manager with a fantastic win against title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Sunday.
His team begun the game sharper than Spurs, winning possession in midfield and immediately setting Mauricio Pochettino’s men on the back-foot by releasing the ball to Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial, who all made inroads.
And it was a sensational long ball from Paul Pogba which laid the platform for Man United’s goal, once again scored by the brilliant Rashford, whose confidence is sky high. His strike proved to be decisive, as David de Gea produced a second half masterclass to keep Spurs at bay after the break.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer spoke in a way which underlined the new positive attitude at United under his leadership alongside Mike Phelan.
Solskjaer on if results have surprised him, “You expect to win every game when you’re at Manchester United.”
— Chris Winterburn (@cmwinterburn) January 13, 2019
To me, it is this mentality – a sense of universal belief – which serves as the fundamental reason behind United’s resurgence under Solskjaer.
The previous manager, Jose Mourinho, spoke of what United players could not or did not do, of what they lacked. Solskjaer sees the potential – rather than shortcomings – of each player.
Such an emphasis sowed the seeds for what we saw at Wembley: United playing without fear, moving the ball forward whenever they could, sticking to a shrewd tactical game-plan, defending and attacking as a collective, allowing Paul Pogba to be himself, believing in themselves and their capacity to win massive games like these.
It was everything you’d want from a United manager.