Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Wayne Rooney encouraged him to get Manchester United attacking again prior to Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff City.
The Red Devils were on fire in south Wales in Solskjaer’s first match as caretaker manager, with Jesse Lingard scoring twice and Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial also on the scoresheet.
It was the first time United have scored five goals in a Premier League game since Alex Ferguson’s final match in charge in 2013 and was in stark contrast to the more prosaic approach adopted under former manager Jose Mourinho this season.
Solskjaer claims it was just a matter of allowing a talented team to express themselves, something he says former captain Rooney had also demanded.
“Football is easy if you’ve got good players and they are such a great bunch of players. The quality is unbelievable,” he told BT Sport.
“I arrived Thursday night and I think maybe all the texts and advice from Wazza helped today. He just told us to make them enjoy football, smile, go forward, be Man United. That’s what I asked for because it’s been a tough week for them. They’ve responded fantastically.
5 – Man Utd have scored 5+ goals in a Premier League game for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final match in charge in May 2013 versus West Brom (5-5). Gunnar. #CARMUN pic.twitter.com/uc9jYCKv0C
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 22, 2018
“We want them to approach every game the same, combination play, we want them to play it forward. Every game gives you different chances. The foundation was in defence: I thought the two centre-backs and full-backs were outstanding.
“It’s a great dressing room. They want to give their best for the club, and they’ve got the badge on their shirt and there’s a reason for that.”
Although the manner of the win will boost United’s confidence, they are in sixth place in the Premier League table, eight points outside the top four.
Solskjaer wants his players to switch their focus quickly to the Boxing Day visit of Huddersfield Town as he attempts to steer them back into Champions League contention.
“We’ve caught up eight, nine points before,” he said. “Now we’ve got Huddersfield; let the boys enjoy tonight and we look forward. You can’t do anything else other than the next training session, work on a few bits, because there is still work to be done, [and] keep plugging away.
“It’s just been emotional, the whole week. It’s a start, and we move on. Nothing is history quicker than a game of football.”
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