Manchester United began life under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a thumping 5-1 win over Cardiff City on Saturday.
Manchester United kicked off the post-Jose Mourinho era in a fine fashion as they thrashed Cardiff City 5-1 away in Wales this weekend.
In what was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge as the caretaker manager of Manchester United, the Red Devils were off to a speedy start, as Marcus Rashford opened the scoring from a free-kick less than three minutes into the game.
Ander Herrera’s strike from distance took a deflection before ending up in the net, to double United’s lead, but the Bluebirds pulled one back through Victor Camarasa’s penalty. However, Anthony Martial applied the finishing touches to some sensational link-up play to restore the visitors’ two-goal cushion before half-time.
Post the break, Manchester United continued to cause problems for Neil Warnock’s side and their intense pressure paid off when Jesse Lingard was felled in the box by Sol Bamba. The England international made no mistake from the resulting penalty, before grabbing his second goal late in the game to pile on the home team’s misery.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 22, 2018
The result sees Manchester United move to eight points within the top four, while it was also the first time the Red Devils had scored five goals in a league game since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game at the helm five years ago. Here’s how the United stars fared on Solskjaer’s big night at the Cardiff City Stadium;
David De Gea: 6/10
There was precious little the Spaniard could do about Camarasa’s penalty, which was struck precisely and powerfully. Made a couple of routine stops and was alert when needed to be. No clean sheet once again though.
Ashley Young: 7/10
Captaining the side, the veteran Englishman was always on the prowl to get forward from the right-back slot. Made a number of forward forays to support his team in attacks, while not abandoning his defensive responsibilities. Played with great energy.
Victor Lindelof: 7.5/10
Went toe to toe with the physical Callum Paterson on a few occasions and did well to keep him in check. But the most pleasing aspect of Lindelof’s performance on Saturday was the confidence with which he carried the ball out of defence on a number of occasions. Teed Rashford up for a chance in the second half, which the Englishman should have buried.
Phil Jones: 7/10
With Chris Smalling injured, Jones was preferred over Eric Bailly for the game. And after his disastrous showing against Valencia, the Englishman did little wrong on Saturday against the Bluebirds. Dealt with whatever came his way with relative ease and managed to force a save out of Neil Etheridge as well.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
Back into the team after missing the last four fixtures with an injury, the England international was a constant outlet on the left-hand side, striding forward at will and combining well with Paul Pogba and Martial. Made a brave headed clearance in the first half, but was booked for a rash challenge. Only blemish on a solid outing for the England international.
Ander Herrera: 7.5/10
The Spanish midfielder was in his elements, hounding opponents in typical fashion, looking to keep things moving forward when in possession. There was a touch of fortuity in his goal, as it took a deflection off Greg Cunningham, but it was still a well-hit strike from some way out.
Nemanja Matic: 7/10
One of Jose Mourinho’s most trusted lieutenants, Matic put in arguably his best display of the season in the first match post the Portuguese’s sacking. Still not at his best, but showed positive intent when on the ball, which has been a rare sight this term. Was a conduit between the two halves of the pitch and kept things ticking well.
Paul Pogba: 8/10
Back into the starting lineup after three league matches out on the benches, the Frenchman made instant impact, winning the free-kick from which Rashford scored. Set Herrera up for the second with a clever pass and was involved in the build-up to the third goal as well.
Tested Etheridge in the Cardiff City goal with a fine effort, before he got the assist for the fifth goal, teeing up Lingard with a perfectly weighted through ball. Solskjaer and the United supporters will be hoping to see more of the same from the club record signing.
Jesse Lingard: 8.5/10
The Manchester United academy graduate was a livewire on the field, posing a serious threat to the home team with his movement and the ability to exploit gaps. Set Martial up for the third goal with a beautiful one-touch pass and went on to win the penalty after the break, which he dispatched nervelessly. Rounded off the win with the fifth.
Marcus Rashford: 7.5/10
Got the game off to a scintillating start, burying home a free-kick within three minutes from kick-off. Continued to cause all sorts of problems to the Cardiff backline with his pace and movement, but could not add to his tally on the evening, despite getting on the end of a couple of very promising chances. Blotted his copybook by conceding the penalty. Otherwise, led the line brilliantly.
Anthony Martial: 7.5/10
Started off the move leading to the third, before applying the finishing touches with utmost composure. Was a handful for the opposition defence to deal with, as he constantly posed a threat cutting in from the left flank. His link-up play with the rest of the forward line was a bright spark.
Replaced Rashford for the final ten minutes or so.
Andreas Pereira: N/A
Thrown in for Martial with less than five minutes left on the clock.
Marouane Fellaini: N/A
Replaced Matic at the base of the midfield as United shut shop.