Sol­sk­jaer starts to dream of per­ma­nent pro­mo­tion

Care­taker boss ‘doesn’t want to leave’ as his United honey­moon con­tin­ues

China Daily - - SPORTS -

NEW­CAS­TLE, Eng­land — Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer joined Matt Busby in the Manch­ester United record books thanks to a 2-0 win at New­cas­tle on Wed­nes­day and ad­mit­ted he does not want to leave the club in the sum­mer.

The United in­terim man­ager, in charge un­til the end of the sea­son when he is sched­uled to re­turn to his Nor­we­gian club Molde, has now won his first four games in charge.

In United’s his­tory, only the leg­endary and iconic Busby has matched that achieve­ment and Sol­sk­jaer cel­e­brated en­thu­si­as­ti­cally with the club’s trav­el­ing sup­port­ers af­ter goals from Romelu Lukaku and Mar­cus Rash­ford se­cured the points.

“I don’t want to (leave),” said Sol­sk­jaer when asked about his fu­ture beyond this sea­son.

“It is such a great bunch of play­ers, a fan­tas­tic at­mos­phere. But it is the next game, the next game and I am do­ing my job for as long as I am here.”

United will now move on to much tougher chal­lenges, start­ing with the Pre­mier League visit to Tot­ten­ham a week on Sun­day.

But, given the man­ner of Wed­nes­day’s vic­tory, Sol­sk­jaer has the look of a man­ager at the top of his game af­ter his de­ci­sion to throw on Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, two of the big­gest un­der-achiev­ers un­der for­mer boss Jose Mour­inho, af­ter 63 min­utes.

In­stantly, New­cas­tle goal­keeper Mar­tin Dubravka fum­bled a 25-yard Rash­ford free­kick and Lukaku, with his first touch of the game, tapped the re­bound home from five yards.

The game hung in the bal­ance un­til the 79th minute when New­cas­tle, push­ing up­field for an equal­izer, was caught on the coun­ter­at­tack.

Lukaku found Sanchez whose as­tute pass reached Rash­ford be­fore the Eng­land for­ward showed great poise to curl past Dubravka for his third goal in four games.

Rash­ford on a roll

“It was a tough test,” said Sol­sk­jaer of Rash­ford’s per­for­mance.

“He gets kicked, and he gets tack­led, he goes for head­ers, he wins, he chal­lenges, he runs.

“He is go­ing to be a top, top num­ber nine, def­i­nitely but then we’ve got Rom (Lukaku), so some­times he’ll play on the right, some­times on the left, some­times through the mid­dle. He’ll get enough games.

“But I felt it was time to put Rom and Alexis on and, of course, it was a great shot by Mar­cus and Romelu does his job as a striker to be fol­low­ing in on the re­bound. If you do that, you’ll get five or six goals every sea­son for free, re­ally.”

United’s vic­tory could have been even more em­phatic af­ter Paul Pogba raced clear in in­jury time and rounded the keeper only to roll the ball into the side-net­ting.

But that hardly mat­tered on an evening when Sol­sk­jaer pulled to within one vic­tory of the record five that Busby won in his first sea­son in charge of the club in 1946-47.

“That will be in the books but it’s noth­ing I’m think­ing of,” said Sol­sk­jaer of his fourth win — a feat only he and Busby have achieved.

“I’m just think­ing about the next game, be­cause if you win four you can win an­other four with this club, that’s the chal­lenge, that’s the stan­dard we’re used to.

“The gaffer (Alex Fer­gu­son) used to chal­lenge us on them and when we’ve won four you can go onto the next four and think about them.”

The only slight con­cern for Sol­sk­jaer was an in­jury suf­fered by Pogba who was caught by an nasty late foul by New­cas­tle sub­sti­tute Jonjo Shelvey which went un­pun­ished by ref­eree An­dre Mar­riner.

There were also some anx­ious first half mo­ments for Sol­sk­jaer thanks to shaky de­fend­ing although United even­tu­ally emerged with just its third clean sheet of the sea­son and the first un­der its in­terim boss.

SCOTT HEPPELL / REUTERS

Manch­ester United’s Phil Jones (left) and New­cas­tle United’s Sa­lomon Ron­don con­test a high ball dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s English Pre­mier League match at St James’ Park, New­cas­tle. Goals by Romelu Lukaku and Mar­cus Rash­ford saw the vis­i­tor win 2-0.

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