Solskjær praises United’s ‘great performance’ as they go third in the league

McTominay scores twice inside three minutes in 6-2 rout of Leeds

 United midfielder Scott McTominay celebrates after scoring his second goal against  Leeds  at Old Trafford. Photograph:  Getty Images

United midfielder Scott McTominay celebrates after scoring his second goal against Leeds at Old Trafford. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær praised Manchester United’s 6-2 rout of Leeds as one of the “great performances” against their big rivals after his team rose to third in the Premier League.

United have been notoriously slow starters this season, but were 2-0 up inside three minutes Scott McTominay scoring twice.

Further goals by Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelöf and one from Liam Cooper for Leeds made it 4-1 at the interval. A second from Fernandes, Daniel James’s first league goal since August 2019, and Stuart Dallas’s finish for Marcelo Biesla’s side completed the scoring.

“It could have been 12-4,” Solskjaer said. “It was that kind of game. That was fantastic from the first minute – we had a plan to get after them, go forwards when we had the ball, and Scott McTominay got two goals in the first three minutes. We found a way of getting them going.

“Just imagine if there were 75,000 people in; it would have gone down in history as one of the great performances against Leeds. We had to earn the right by running as much as them – that’s a challenge. I enjoyed it, it was frantic, hectic. No matter what the score is they have a certain attitude or style if they are 5-0 up or down.”

Solskjær was asked whether United really could have scored double figures.

“I’m very happy with the way we created chances: our skill, some fantastic moves. But, yes, sometimes you look at it and think ‘put the ball in the goal.’ But I can’t be greedy. Mason [Greenwood], Anthony [Martial] and Marcus [Rashford] didn’t get on the scoresheet and they’re our main strikers, so this is good.”

United are unbeaten in seven league games, winning six, and have 26 points, placing them five behind the leaders, Liverpool, with a match in hand. Their count of 28 goals is second only to the champions.

Title race

Solskjær was asked about the title race.

“We are not even at the halfway point,” the manager said. “The league position is not something we look at; we look at the improvement of the team. Now we are getting fitter and stronger. Our fans needed that one.”

On December 26th United travel to Leicester, who are second with one point more after winning 2-0 at Tottenham. “Every game is a cup final for us,” said Solskjær.

McTominay, who limped off, and Luke Shaw are doubts for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final at Everton.

“Luke has been ill for a few days and only passed fit this morning – he didn’t train yesterday [Saturday],” Solskjær said. “Scott seems like he has a groin issue. Hopefully it won’t be too long.”

Leeds manager Bielsa said: “It’s very difficult to take. We’re very sad and we regret we weren’t able to make more of the game.”

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