Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had to endure a summer of ups and downs in terms of recruitment, while at the same time dealing with those nagging pundits and fans who questioned the former Old Trafford striker’s suitability to manage one of the biggest team’s in the world. Paul Pogba played a bit of a game that saw him touted to the best teams in Europe with the constant threat of leaving but with no eventual takers.
Romelu Lukaku did something similar and when it looked as if United were holding firm and refusing to allow him to leave, he stayed away anyway, trained with former club Anderlecht and then eventually got his move to Inter Milan. The ups for Solskjaer were mainly down to the fact that the Red Devils managed to snare England defender Harry Maguire from Leicester for a fee of around £80million, making him the costliest stopper in world football.
So, it must have been with a great deal of pleasure that the ex-Norway marksman surveyed the 4-0 Premier League thumping of Chelsea in the opening game of the campaign on Sunday. It came via two goals from attacker Marcus Rashford and a strike each for Anthony Martial and Daniel James on his debut as Frank Lampard’s side were blown away in the former Blues favourite’s first game as the new Stamford Bridge manager.
Solskjaer spoke about the thrill of seeing his outfit play with so much confidence but cited more caution in future when to comes to potentially losing so much possession. He told the club’s official website:
“We’d have taken 1-0 as you want results in the first game. You want the momentum to grow because you don’t really think about the performance if you get a win, but, then again, the second half gives us so much confidence in the way we performed. We needed half-time to settle down because the first half was frantic, it was nervy and we gave so many sloppy balls away. We tried to flick the ball and the fancy stuff but then we grew into the game and, second half, I thought we were excellent on and off the ball.”
The fact that influential midfielder Pogba has remained at the Theatre of Dreams is obviously a huge boost for the club and Solskjaer says the powerhouse’s versatility is one pleasing aspect of his play. He added:
“Yes, I think Paul can do many jobs. He can do the attacking midfield job. In this game, he was more of the link player and when you’ve got Victor Lindelof, Maguire and David De Gea at the back, you can play like that. He was asked to play that sitting role and he had to do lots of running in the first half, but we’re fit and he’s fit. That third goal is a fantastic pass and the run for the fourth — I just wanted him to go all the way and finish it himself.”