Ole Gunnar’s first home game in-charge of Manchester United ended in a 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town, with Paul Pogba the star of the show

Following their 5-1 win over Cardiff City last weekend, the excitement had built up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first home game as Manchester United’s caretaker boss. But, Huddersfield took the game to the hosts, even coming close to finding the back of the net in the early exchanges through Terence Kongolo.

But, Manchester United gradually settled into their rhythm, before a corner routine saw them break the deadlock through Nemanja Matic after Victor Lindelof’s header had been saved by Jonas Lossl. The Red Devils then had the chance to double their advantage when Marcus Rashford’s cross found Diogo Dalot, only to see the full-back miss by whiskers.

The second half started just as the first period had, with Huddersfield taking the game to Manchester United, who had David de Gea to thank when Laurent Depoitre shot from the edge of the box. A couple of minutes later, Solskjaer & co. were two to the good, when Paul Pogba finished a fine team move, after Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford combined delightfully to set up the goal.

With 12 minutes left in regulation time, the win was rounded off, with Pogba doubling his tally, shooting from distance after collecting Jesse Lingard’s pass. But, de Gea was denied a well deserved clean sheet when Mathias Jorgensen scored from point-blank range to score a consolation goal for Huddersfield.

With two wins in two, the gloomy mood at Old Trafford has certainly been lifted to an extent, with the gap to fifth-placed Arsenal to six points, following the Gunners 1-1 draw on Wednesday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Solskjaer’s charges, following their Boxing Day success.

David de Gea: 8/10

Daves Saves! (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Daves Saves! (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Donning the armband on Wednesday, it was largely quiet evening for de Gea, despite Huddersfield’s exploits at different stages of the match. In fact, the Spaniard was at hand to make a spectacular save, his best this season, when Depoitre flicked the ball goalwards, with the score still at 1-0. Stood no chance in stopping Zanka from scoring, with de Gea stranded during the free-kick routine.

Diogo Dalot: 6/10

Solskjaer had assured that every player will get a chance under his regime, and Dalot got his, starting in place of Ashley Young. The manager’s style seemingly suits Dalot quite well, with the Portuguese being a constant outlet in the final third, allowing Mata to drift inwards. There’s room for improvement on the defensive aspect, and he was taken off for Young as Manchester United sought to secure the win.

Victor Lindelof: 7/10

Another positive performance by Lindelof. (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

Another positive performance by Lindelof. (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

Huddersfield had spells of domination at different junctures of the game, but never did they manage to threaten in central areas. That was largely down to the tandem of Lindelof and Phil Jones, who pressed efficiently to neutralize Laurent Depoitre. It was the Swede’s header that was the catalyst in creating the first goal, although he did switch off when Zanka pulled one back for Huddersfield.

Phil Jones: 7/10

A nervy moment early on nearly gifted Huddersfield an opener, but Jones soon found his feet. The Englishman pressed well to win the second balls, marking Depoitre effectively. Passing out from the back is not always his best trait, and that was one area where he struggled, in an otherwise solid outing.

Luke Shaw: 6.5/10

Like Dalot, Shaw was a constant outlet in the final third, allowing Jesse Lingard to move infield. The full-back was also alert to recover any stray ball, showing the required urgency to win the ball back quickly. But, his end product was found wanting, with the Englishman managing just one key pass.

Nemanja Matic: 8/10

Getting back to his best? (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

Getting back to his best? (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

2018-19 has been a season to forget for Matic. But, under Solskjaer seems to be improving markedly, showing good awareness while releasing the ball quickly while also showing superb movement to get out of tight situations.

Was in the right place at the right time to open the scoring for Manchester United. Matic was overrun at times in midfield, but recovered quickly more often than not, even blocking a Huddersfield effort.

Fred: 6/10

Fred was in his elements in the early exchanges in the game, transitioning quickly while also setting up an early chance for his side. But, as the game progressed, the Brazilian became sloppy in possession, misplacing a number of simple passes. First player to be taken off, for Ander Herrera, as Solskjaer looked to tighten things up in midfield.

Paul Pogba: 9/10

Pogba seemed to be going nowhere under Jose Mourinho. But, with Solskjaer at the helm now, he is visibly unshackled, which shows in the numbers as well. The Frenchman had the most touches (114), made the most passes in the final third (40), aimed most shots at goal (5), completed the most dribbles (4) and created the most chances (3) on the night.

Pogba contributed defensively as well, making three interceptions while also completing each of his two tackles. But, his most important contributions on the night were his two goals that effectively helped Manchester United beat Huddersfield. Clearly enjoying himself again.

Juan Mata: 7.5/10

Mata flitted in an out of the game on Wednesday. But, whenever he did get on the ball, the Spaniard was delightful, always looking to make things happen in the final third. Was crucial in the build-up to Pogba’s first, first smartly exchanging passes with Rashford and staying strong before slicing open the Huddersfield defence.

Marcus Rashford: 6.5/10

It was a frustrating evening for Rashord, who could not manage to get the better of Lossl, when he got into scoring positions. Creatively though, the young striker was brilliant, setting up a glorious chance for Dalot with a cross, before combining well with Mata in the build-up to Pogba’s first goal. His frustrations grew as the game progressed, and he would like to move on to the next game.

Jesse Lingard: 7/10

Lingard was the star of the show last weekend. But, he was far from his best on Wednesday, not creating in plenty, although he cannot be faulted for a lack of trying. Off the ball, Lingard was deadly as always, pressing relentlessly to win the balls in the final third.

SUBSTITUTES

Ander Herrera: 7/10

Introduced early into the second half, Herrera brought a sense of calm in midfield, taking some of the burden off Matic. The duo allowed each other time and space to move forward, whenever one of them stayed back. And it was his pass that was converted by Pogba for his first goal.

Ashley Young: 7/10

Young was only slightly better than Dalot defensively, but his link-up with Mata and Rashford helped create Manchester United’s second of the night.

Angel Gomes: N/A

With just 10 minutes left to play, Solskjaer handed Gomes his second Premier League appearance. There were some promising moments in the cameo, and this might be a sign that he will be afforded a few more chances going forward.

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