Daily Express

UNITED HAVE

Ole’s side labour be­fore strikes at death

- By Mike Wal­ters Sports · Soccer · Manchester United F.C. · Manchester · Juan Manuel Mata · Turkey · Belgium national football team · Crystal Palace F.C. · Sheffield · Sheffield F.C. · Luton · Harry Maguire · Odion Ighalo · Donny van de Beek · Mason Greenwood · Ole Gunnar Solskjær · Marcus Rashford · Jesse Lingard

ON a laboured night, a fa­mil­iar friend came to Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s aid.

The penalty spot – a rich source of com­fort in Manch­ester United’s trail of near misses with tro­phies last sea­son – got their sea­son up and run­ning in the EFL Cup, with Juan Mata do­ing the honours on 44 min­utes. The cor­ru­gated jun­gle of Ke­nil­worth

Rash­ford hits the sec­ond for United and Green­wood gets plau­dits af­ter he nets

Road, which has changed lit­tle bird on its perch. And af­ter his since United were last here 28 un­der­cooked side’s open­ingyears ago, has not al­ways been day blow- out against Crys­tal kind to the Red Devils. . Palace, man­ager Sol­sk­jaer In 1985, Ron on

coum could mishaps. ill- af­ford any more Atkin­son’s side e swag­gered into town For goal­keeper Dean on the back of Hen­der­son, left, there 10 con­sec­u­tive wins, was a first out­ing for dropped their first t h his par­ent club af­ter points of the sea­son n un un­furl­ing an im­pres­sive and never re­cov­ered from rom case on loan at Sh­effield the bub­ble burst­ing, trail­ing United. Hen­der­son was spared home 12 points be­low the Liver a busier night by Lu­ton’s lack of end prod­uct to go with their abun­dant prom­ise, and although United did not play like strangers in the night – skip­per Harry Maguire was the only sur­vivor of the Palace de­ba­cle – they of­ten strug­gled to make head­way.

For 44 min­utes United were not in­ci­sive enough, not cre­ative enough.

Odion Ighalo was bul­lied by the tow­er­ing Sonny Bradley, Jesse Lin­gard re­minded us again

of the bright fu­ture be­hind him while £ 40mil­lion Donny van de Beek will surely shine on big­ger stages. Bran­don Wil­liams was tripped by Ge­orge Mon­cur, Mata tucked away the penalty and United led against the run of play a minute be­fore the break. United won 21 penal­ties in all com­pe­ti­tions in the pro­tracted 2019- 20 sea­son – more than any other club in

Europe’s top five leagues. No need for any con­spir­acy the­o­ries about their first one of a new term. But ev­ery time the Sky Sports cam­eras picked out Sol­sk­jaer in the stands, he looked suit­ably con­cerned.

United’s dress­ing room for the night was a bar con­course, and this was another per­for­mance to make you reach for the beer taps.

Ten changes or not, Sol­sk­jaer put out a strong team. Take noth­ing away from Lu­ton, who were dy­namic for long spells, but United should not just have been putting them to bed, they should have been laun­der­ing the sheets and air­ing the du­vets for them, too.

It was for­tu­nate then that the fi­nal score­line was given a hefty coat of gloss when sub­sti­tute Mar­cus Rash­ford struck three min­utes from time be­fore Ma­son Green­wood made it 3- 0 in stop­page time.

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 ??  ?? NET GAIN: Mata sends Shea the wrong way to open the scor­ing from penalty spot
NET GAIN: Mata sends Shea the wrong way to open the scor­ing from penalty spot

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