The youngster, who has started at No.9 for all four of Solskjaer’s games as caretaker manager, bullied Newcastle’s defence all evening with an aggressive, rapid performance.
His fizzing free-kick was parried by Martin Dubravka, allowing for Romelu Lukaku to swipe home from close range, before he added Man United’s second with a calm slotted finish towards the end.
Rashford’s numbers from the game tell the story of a player loving his football under Solskjaer.
Marcus Rashford's game by numbers vs. Newcastle:
100% dribbles completed
most shots (7)
most shots on target (4)
most shots from inside the box (4)
1 chance created
Another impressive display. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/PTosFCpSgy
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 2, 2019
“He’s still learning,” Solskjaer said about Rashford last week. “The most important thing I can see is to just settle him down in front of goal. I’ve seen him rush a few finishes. He thinks, ‘I’ve got to get a shot off early’ when sometimes you just pass it past the keeper. I always say the goal never moves.”
Herein lies the key difference between Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho‘s man-management. The latter did not even try to improve his players. Solskjaer pinpointed a weakness in Rashford’s game and has helped him improve.
The way Rashford took the ball down, steadied himself, and passed it beyond Dubravka into the corner was clear-as-daylight evidence of Solskjaer’s coaching of the 21-year-old bearing fruit. More generally, this is a manager who believes in his players, who sees what they can – rather than what they cannot – do on a football pitch.
And United players have responded by producing four straight wins. Who would have thought a positive attitude would help generate positive outcomes?