Football

Groundwork for win was there before Fernandes, Rashford came on: Solskjaer

Manchester United's 5-0 rout of Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig in the Champions League yesterday morning (Singapore time) showed that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally has the strength in depth that was sorely missing last season.

The win over last season's semi-finalists was all the more impressive, given that Solskjaer rested several key players and fielded an untested midfield combination.

Among those rested was Marcus Rashford, who bagged a hat-trick after coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute, given the confidence Solskjaer now has in Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, who both scored.

Bruno Fernandes was held back for the second half as well, with new signing Donny van de Beek given his first start outside of the League Cup.

Paul Pogba has not started since the 6-1 home thrashing by Tottenham Hotspur, but was recalled along with Nemanja Matic.

It was not until Fernandes and Rashford were on the field that United ran away with the game but, as Solskjaer noted, the basis had been built without them.

"Marcus Rashford came on and did well, but the groundwork was there from the team... What a shift they put in," he said.

"Leipzig are a high press (team), (with) intensity, so we had to dig deep. We had to rest a few because the season is relentless, so we used the squad. This group is coming together."

Admitting that he made the changes with an eye on the league match against Arsenal on Monday morning, Solskjaer added: "We need to pick up points." - REUTERS

Football