Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Solskjær’s salutes never-say-die United

Ole Gunnar Solskjær saluted Manchester United’s fighting spirit as they rolled back the years with two goals in the final five minutes of a thrilling 2-2 draw against Burnley.

United manager Solskjær is most famous for scoring the winning goal for the Old Trafford club in the closing seconds of the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

That was one of many dramatic late victories for United during the Alex Ferguson era.

And Solskjær rode the same emotional rollercoaster at Old Trafford on Tuesday as United preserved the unbeaten start to his interim reign.

Although United failed to win for the first time in nine attempts since Solskjær took over from Jose Mourinho before Christmas, it was still an encouraging escape act.

United trailed by two goals with just three minutes left, but Paul Pogba got one back with a penalty.

Then Ashley Young sent over a 92nd minute cross, Alexis Sanchez’s header was saved by Tom Heaton and Victor Lindelof pounced to net the rebound.

“Coming up here, I was stopped so many times saying it was great spirit and great the way they came back,” said Solskjær in the post-match press conference.

“The way they came back was fantastic. Now we have the answer: can they come back if they go one-down or two-down even? I’m very happy with the response.”

Earlier, Solskjær’s magical touch seemed to have deserted him when Andreas Pereira, handed just the third United league start of his career, gifted Burnley an opening goal after 51 minutes.

Pereira received a pass from Phil Jones and was immediately dispossessed by Burnley’s Jack Cork.

The midfielder’s through ball quickly played Ashley Barnes into space in the United area and his devastating shot gave David De Gea no chance as it soared into the roof of the net.

After 80 minutes, and the latest in a series of disappointing misses from Marcus Rashford, Burnley doubled their lead when Ashley Westwood was allowed space to cross from the right and the unmarked Chris Wood headed in from six yards.

United ensured a thrilling finale when Jeff Hendrick was judged to have brought down Jesse Lingard and Pogba stroked home.

‘Mystery five minutes’

The decision from referee Jonathon Moss that did not please Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who was also irritated by the decision to play five minutes of stoppage-time.

“I just don’t like it when people get touched on the shoulder and their legs don’t work,” said Dyche.

“But that’s modern football, everyone sees to think it’s acceptable, apart from me.

“But I have no clue where the mystery five minutes came from. With the history of this club, and ‘Fergie time’ when five minutes goes up, everyone starts believing.

“The crowd is used to that feeling and you could sense it.”

United, looking for a remarkable ninth successive win to start Solskjær’s reign, wasted a host of early chances.

Just nine minutes had gone when Pogba played through Rashford, who exchanged passes with Romelu Lukaku only to roll his shot well wide from a hugely promising position.

It was the start of a number of misses by Rashford and, not until Solskjær took off Pereira, bringing on first Lingard, and then Sanchez, did United look more threatening in attack.

The pressure predictably mounted thereafter, with Heaton making a breathtaking save at the foot of his post after Lukaku had appeared to have flicked in an Young near-post cross after 66 minutes.

After the draw, Solskjær conceded he was not certain whether Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini would still be with the club after he was linked with a £10 million move to Chinese club Shandong Luneng Taishan.

“I have been busy all day,” he said. “I don’t really know the latest on that. Just wait and see.”

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Johannesburg council member Jolidee Matongo touted as front-runner to take...

The ANC will likely announce a candidate to take over as the city’s mayor next week after consultation with provincial and national leaders

Covid-19 jab: a ticket of responsibility, not a ticket to...

Being fully vaccinated ‘makes you a little bit more comfortable in your skin’, says 61-year-old Elize Parker

More top stories

Johannesburg council member Jolidee Matongo touted as front-runner to take...

The ANC will likely announce a candidate to take over as the city’s mayor next week after consultation with provincial and national leaders

Clashes in Tunisia after president ousts PM amid Covid protests

Street clashes erupted Monday outside Tunisia's army-barricaded parliament, a day after President Kais Saied ousted the prime minister and suspended the legislature, plunging the young democracy into a constitutional crisis

Five things to watch in the Zambian elections

Zambia will hold presidential elections in three weeks’ time amidst an ongoing economic crisis and rising political tensions. These are the five most important things to look out for in the elections

Covid-19 jab: a ticket of responsibility, not a ticket to...

Being fully vaccinated ‘makes you a little bit more comfortable in your skin’, says 61-year-old Elize Parker
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×