Date of publication: Saturday 17 October 2020 10:43
Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the demonstration of his ‘inspiring’ captain Harry Maguire and made a strong statement on the direction of their current campaign.
The Red Devils missed 4-1 against Newcastle but had to fight to the end before the victory could be put beyond doubt.
The three points come on a day when Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal all lost points, and Solskjaer was keenly aware of the importance of the return to victory.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Solskjaer said: “Excellent result and great character to come back, led by a very inspiring captain.
“The boys got along really well. They look forward to every game. Today I rested a few and they came and did the business for us.
Paul Pogba was clearly absent from the starting line-up as the squad were already without additional attacking skills Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
Regarding the decision to kick Pogba off the bench, Solskjaer said: “Paul had hip and back problems when he was away with France so it wasn’t good to start him.
“We have big games to come. Everyone must play when they enter. I am thrilled for him.
Club captain Harry Maguire gave a manly display, crowned with a vital goal that brought Man Utd to level conditions.
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“Harry has scored and is leading by example,” added the Norwegian. “He showed a good character, I’m happy for him. He has had a few difficult weeks since he last met with us.
Insisting that Man Utd are now up to the task after their delayed departure from the campaign, Solskjaer said their season can finally start to gain momentum from that point on.
“The season has started for us today,” he concluded. “We have reached the speed of the game and it showed today.”
The ‘crisis’ was exaggerated – Maguire
Center-half Harry Maguire put the disappointment of his England red card behind him by scoring the crucial first-half equalizer.
Put to bed any notion of crisis at the club, Maguire told Sky Sports: “I wouldn’t say we answered them [the critics]. It’s funny, three games in the season and it seems like a big crisis. Won two lost two. There is a long way to go, we have to improve.
“When you play for this club and you are beaten at home, we ask questions. We are working hard in training, it’s a great group and we knew we had to bounce back. I thought it would have been very hard if we came back with just one point. A well-deserved victory.
“It was important. In every Premier League game we want to be on top. Some games we won’t be at our best, but we have to do the basics well and in the games that we have lost we haven’t done the basics well.
“We knew we had to get three points and we did it. We have a tough race ahead.
“We’re still a young team but we won’t use that as an excuse. It was disappointing to start the way we did but great performances tonight when we needed it.