Ole Gunnar Solskjaer passed his biggest test yet as Man United beat Tottenham 1-0 at Wembley thanks to a first half goal from Marcus Rashford and a number of top saves from Man United goalie, David De Gea. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, observed the tie and has put down a few thoughts.
Man Like De Gea
Marcus Rashford may have scored the winning goal but the day belonged to goalkeeper David De Gea. He was simply possessed all game.
After going through a calm first half, the Spanish man in the goal, was called to earn his wages and he earned them to the last pound and then some.
He used to feet and hands to thwart Harry Kane a few time, Fernando Llorente once and every other thing that Spurs fired his way.
For most parts of the season, De Gea had given goals away.
He made the good saves and all but he was not operating at his best but on a day that was seen as the most important for the team since the exit of Jose Mourinho, he found the part of him the world had not seen in a while and won the game for Man United.
And all that would have been impossible had that fax machine not been in the corner of the Red Devils.
Decisive Pogba and Marcus
Aside from the well-deserved praise for David De Gea, it is important to give plaudits to Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford. The duo worked out the team’s only goal very brilliantly and it was done at perhaps the best time.
The two players had shown a good rebirth since Solksjaer walked in and it was very good seeing their best on show in such an important match.
Pogba found the pass and set Rashford free leading to the goal and it was well-taken.
Maybe, Ole is showing the young forward a thing or two because the goal exhibited the needed pace, skill and calmness that good forwards.
Rashford is not a bad forward at all but there were obvious challenges with his decision making in the penalty area. The goal highlights what he can with more work and consistency.
For Pogba, until his yellow card, he ran the midfield well and he could have had his own goal but his shot in the second half could not find the target.
By the way, a quick word of praise must be given to Nemanja Matic. He provided the freedom for Pogba to thrive but more importantly, he had his instincts on full alert to spot passes and break the play to the advantage of the Red Devils.
Jones was a concern
When the euphoria of the win dies down, it will be clear to everyone who saw the game that Phil Jones looked too inferior to Harry Kane on the day.
He failed to stop the English forward on both the physical and tactical fronts and had De Gea not been tops, the score would have been different.
The best instance was in the first half when Kane shoved Jones away so easily and controlled a corner kick and tried a shot which was blocked.
Other chances like these fell to Kane all game and Jones failed to keep Kane in check.
Jones was poor when it came to the basics of his job and something will have to be done about that.
Bringing in another centre-back is the best choice because it does not look like Jones will get any better until the end of the season.
The clean sheet may have been recorded but some urgent operations need to be done in the centre half area for Man United.
The march towards the glory days cannot be successful without the best men guarding the rear.