It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t the best performance yet, but Ole Gunnar Solskjær extended his unbeaten run to 10 games in charge of Manchester United with the team’s latest win over Leicester City.
Marucs Rashford’s well-taken, solitary goal was enough to come away with the all-important three points at the end of the 90 minutes, which was under threat for the best part of 60 minutes as the Foxes were pouring men forward, looking for a way past David de Gea.
The Red Devils moved up into fifth – which is where they will stay after Arsenal’s loss to Manchester City – only two points off Chelsea in fourth. Given where the club were when the Norwegian took over, it is hugely impressive what he has done in a short period of time.
Man Utd are on the rise
While they had a temporary setback in their 2-2 draw against Burnley last week, the Red Devils emphatically grafted their way back into the match and prevented their first loss, which looked inevitable with how the team were finding it frustrating to put the ball into the back of the net.
With another win, this time away at Leicester, Solskjær’s record now reads nine wins and one draw. Given he has equalled the amount of wins in 10 games as he did from when he was manager of Cardiff City, it’s clear as day to see how well he has gelled with the first-team players.
A lot of the good work also goes to Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, who have gone back to basics with the emphasis on what it means to play for a team like Manchester United. The players have adapted to the Norwegian’s man-management and appear happier in both training and on the pitch.
Man United are still an outside bet to finish in the top four given Chelsea and Arsenal are still in the running, but fans can only be enthused by what they are now seeing on a weekly basis.
There is clear optimism from everyone around the club, which stands them in good stead to tackle the second half of the season.
Paul Pogba is a dream player
It became obvious in José Mourinho’s third and final year in charge that he had endured a falling out with Paul Pogba. It became siege mentality where the Portuguese coach tried to isolate the France international, while telling the club he was more than happy to sell him if the right offer came to the fore.
Thankfully for Manchester United fans, that never arrived and Pogba is now excelling just as the fans knew he would be under a different coach. Playing in a more attacking role for the Red Devils, Pogba can influence the game in the final third and has done just that since the end of December.
Scoring six goals and recording five assists in eight Premier League matches since the arrival of Solskjær is telling. Pogba has been at the heart of everything positive around the club, and his performances on the pitch speak volumes about how he was misunderstood by Mourinho.
As long as the match-winning shows of quality keep coming from the World Cup winner, Manchester United fans will be more than delighted to keep him throughout the prime years of his career.
Anthony Martial pens a new deal
With the good news that Anthony Martial has signed a contract extension until 2024, Manchester United fans will be desperate to see the Frenchman starting once more.
After an injury niggle that prevented him from making a starting berth against Leicester, as well as not being in the squad against Burnley, it’s only a matter of time before Martial returns to goal-scoring fashion.
The Red Devils have some incredibly important fixtures coming up in February – such as the two Paris Saint-Germain Champions League ties and Liverpool at Old Trafford – and so will be hoping that the left winger will be back to match fitness to lead the charge.
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