One of the biggest signs that Manchester United are finally back as a force in the Premier League comes not from their position in the table, but from the dissatisfied reaction of the manager and players after drawing level on points with the leaders following a hard-fought win against Aston Villa.
United overcame an excellent Villa side 2-1 at Old Trafford last night in a pulsating game that saw Anthony Martial put away Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross for United’s first goal in the 40th minute.
Bertrand Traore levelled the game early in the second half after Villa caught United off guard with a quick free kick, but Paul Pogba was then brought down in the Villa box just three minutes later and Bruno Fernandes slotted home the resulting penalty.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for his players after the game, but also showed that he wants and demands more.
‘We should have played out the game and managed the game better towards the end,’ he said.
‘There was a few times in that box when you are a bit worried. We didn’t stop their crosses well enough. When they put crosses in the box they are always dangerous but we made some fantastic blocks and saves.
‘Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted with the three points and very happy with the performance but there are always things we need to improve on.’
And the team’s captain in spirit if not in name, Bruno Fernandes, agreed with the boss in his own post-match comments.
‘It was tough. We have to learn from this,’ the Portuguese international said.
‘We have to last the game much better. We had some situations to close the game, you have to close the match and try and score because we know that teams can score.
‘If we close the game early it is better. It is better. We have to take care of this.’
It is certainly true that United’s finishing has to be improved if they are to mount a serious challenge for the title. Their dominance yesterday led to them having an impressive 19 shots in the game, of which only nine were on target. Only one got past Martinez in open play.
Edinson Cavani has made quite an impact since his deadline day arrival at Old Trafford, but how much do you know about our other South American players, past and present? Take our quiz below to find out!