Ole Gunnar’s Solksjaer’s first home match in charge of Man United ended 3-1 in his favour thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, observed the game and notes a few points.
Positive start was key
The start may not have been as frenetic as it was against Cardiff but the Red Devils showed a sense of positivity and the willingness to work for the openings to come.
Huddersfield were definitely coming to Old Trafford to set their stall to defend and see what they could find on the break and thus, it was important to get into a good rhythm from the onset.
More importantly, there was a very good ability to up the ante and force the issue as the half wore on until the opening goal was scored by Nemanja Matic.
The passing was good and there was the insistence on going towards the opponents. A huge far-cry from the previous era of uncertainty and a very obvious absence of tempo.
Beginning right was the best way to build and get a second straight victory under the caretaker manager.
10 days ago, the Frenchman was sitting on the bench at Anfield watching on as his team mates were being slaughtered by Liverpool. He was on the wrong side of Jose Mourinho’s affections and he looked like staying there for a while.
Against Huddersfield, Paul Pogba was running the show and he made things happen for himself and Manchester United.
He enjoyed having the ball and finding his mates all through the game. When he did not feel generous, he decided to have some attempts and go past his opponents.
Of course, he should he doing this more and more because he gets paid to so but perhaps, the display against David Wagner’s team and the one at Cardiff underline the need for the right environment if Pobga will be the best version of himself for Man United’s benefits.
And to cap things off, he scored twice; the second being a reminder to himself and to the fans that he can actually score very good goals from distance.
The hope is that under the new king at Old Trafford, his most expensive general will shine brighter and brighter.
Defensive red flags
2 straight league wins under Solksjaer, 8 goals, 2 conceded. These numbers should delight any fan but if one considers the fact that concession of goals at Man United this season is very rampant, it slightly dulls the excitement of the new era at Man United.
The positive vibe and feel are very strong and the indications are that this will persist for a considerable amount of time.
However, the team must take the feel-good air and use them for the protection of scorelines. More confidence will be gained from this and that will form the bedrock for greater performances for the rest of the season.
No one knows how well the caretaker manager will handle this challenge but something needs to be done. Opposing teams should not be left with the impression that Man United always have a goal to give.
That can be very dangerous on the day when the attack is unduly thwarted or frustrated.
The goals difference section of the league table should start reading double figures.
Phil Jones: For the solid job in defence against Huddersfield. He showed calmness and skill in all confrontations and he was a very ready option for Victor Lindelof; his centre back partner.