English Premiership

Solskjaer on Rashford's brace: 'We do expect a lot from him'

Marcus Rashford (PA Images)
Marcus Rashford (PA Images)

Cape Town - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the performance of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford after he netted a brace to clinch victory against Tottenham.

Rashford scored in the sixth minute and then slotted home a second-half penalty to earn a 2-1 win and ease the pressure on Jose Mourinho's successor, who had overseen their worst start to a season since 1988.

The England international also rattled the crossbar and sent a free-kick just wide as he was on a one-man mission to make it a night to forget for the Portuguese.

It was 351 days since Mourinho was fired at United, but he was back with Spurs and would have fancied a win after Dele Alli's brilliant equaliser just before the break.

But it was Rashford who stole the headlines and Solskjaer likened the performance to the striker playing in the schoolyard with his mates.

"He has just enjoyed himself," Solskjaer said. "Sometimes there is expectation or pressure on him because we do expect a lot from him because he has shown it so many times.

"We want them to go out and enjoy themselves, with no fear of losing. United fans love to see wingers and forwards play with courage."

With the availability of Mauricio Pochettino, who Mourinho replaced at Spurs, looming large over Solskjaer, the boss saw his team put in a fine display.

They led after six minutes when Rashford beat Paulo Gazzaniga at the near post, but it looked like they would be punished for not making their dominance count.

Alli's brilliant goal, his fourth in four games under Mourinho, brought Spurs level, but Rashford's penalty in the 47th minute won it for United.

Mourinho had spoken warmly about his time at Old Trafford in the build-up to the match, but he will have desperately wanted to win and become the first-ever Spurs manager to win his first three top-flight league games in charge.

It was a flat performance, though, and he accepted after the game that his former side deserved to win.

“I think is just the way it is," Mourinho said after the game of United’s record.

"And you look to United results this season against the best teams, they had good results.

"I think at home when they play like they did Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester, also a great team this season, they always had this kind of attitude. I think it's easier for them, the way they play.

"They are not afraid to be with a defensive approach, they are not afraid to be at home, to take their time, to be in control of the emotions of the game. Then lots of young people with lots of energy and good mentality and when they are winning matches.

"They are comfortable in this situation of the low block and a giant dominating in the air and being fast in a counter-attack with Marcus (Rashford), with James, with Jesse (Lingard), with (Anthony) Martial when he plays.

"So, I think the way they play is easier for them when they play against teams that are better teams, teams that want more of the ball, to have the initiative of the game, so I think they did well.

"They played the game they wanted to play (in the second half), they dropped the block, they defend, a couple of dangerous counter-attacks, closing, closing, closing, and when we had the ball in the last third the goal could happen but didn't.

"And I think they deserve the victory."

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