Football

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: No title talk, we're a work in progress

Manchester United bolstered their English Premier League title aspirations by demolishing Leeds United 6-2 in the first league meeting between the sides for 16 years yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes scored twice as United's counter-attacking threat tore apart Marcelo Bielsa's attacking approach to move the Red Devils up to third, five points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

If United defeat second-placed Leicester City on Boxing Day, they will move just behind leaders Liverpool, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not looking too far ahead.

"It's 13 games into the season - we're a work in a progress. We're getting better, we're getting fitter and stronger but there's still a few details to nail and let's talk about the title later on," he said.

United have made a series of slow starts this season, but put the result almost beyond doubt inside three minutes at Old Trafford, thanks to two goals from McTominay.

The Scotland international burst forward from his deep midfield role to smash home Fernandes' pass from outside the area and then slotted home Anthony Martial's through-ball.

Bielsa's determination to play in the same wide-open style no matter the opposition backfired as the visitors were 4-0 down inside 37 minutes.

Fernandes pounced on a loose ball inside the area after another fast counter-attack to make it 3-0 before another Leeds Achilles' heel, defending set-pieces, was exposed when Victor Lindelof swept home Martial's flick on from a corner.

Leeds had plenty of chances themselves at the other end and got on the scoreboard three minutes before half-time when captain Liam Cooper headed in off the inside of the post from a corner.

Daniel James, who was handed a rare start, then repaid Solskjaer's faith when he latched onto McTominay's pass to beat Illan Meslier for United's fifth 24 minutes from time.

Moments later, United got their sixth goal, after Martial was upended inside the penalty area and Fernandes converted their 10th penalty of the season.

The scoring did not stop there as Stuart Dallas fired a wonderful effort into the top corner to reduce the deficit for Leeds, who are 14th in the table.

Despite the thrashing, Bielsa insisted that they will not change their style.

"If the opposing team is able to impose their style on us, it means the opposing manager was able to neutralise it," said the Argentinian.

"We will correct things but we will not abandon the way we play."- AFP, REUTERS

Football