The moment that showed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows his Manchester United Marcus Rashford solution
Different goal scorers
With Marcus Rashford out injured, the onus is on other players to step up and fill the void and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn’t short of volunteers at Prenton Park. First came Harry Maguire with a thunderbolt, his first for the club. Then another debut goal followed for Diogo Dalot. A rare Jesse Lingard strike was United’s third and Phil Jones scored his first goal since David Moyes was in charge.
The sight of the centre back getting on the scoresheet was the final straw for some as they headed in for their half time refreshments early.
It’s going to be a struggle for Solskjaer without his leading goal scorer but he’ll have been boosted by the range of different scorers.
Forwards Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood also got in on the action which is key for Solskjaer while Rashford is out.
While Lingard and Andreas Pereira argued over who would take the penalty in the second half Solskjaer instructed Jones to tell Greenwood to take it. The teenager made no mistake from the spot and the United manager knows how key confidence is for his forward line so it was a sensible and key decision from the Norwegian as he knows he’ll have to rely on the teenager in the coming weeks.
There’s still time for the club to bring in a back up striker with five days left of the transfer window remaining and the club shouldn’t let Sunday afternoon’s goal fest change that.
But Solskjaer will be happy half of his team found the back of the net.
Anti-Glazer chants continue
As has been the case for the past four games, the chants against the club’s owners and executive vice chairman continued. Green and gold scarves could be spotted amongst the 2,000 travelling supporters and a green smoke bomb was let off as the fans aired their anti-Glazer chants after the team went 3-0 up.
Support for Solskjaer remains with the fans keen to let everyone know they don’t think the Norwegian is to blame.
Chants of ‘Ole’ rang out after Maguire’s opener hit the back of the net and the support for the manager came way before the anti-Glazer and Woodward chants.
One thing’s for certain though. The protests aren’t going to go away, no matter how convincing the United victory.
Tranmere hit for six
Sunday’s clash was all set up for one of those shock cup upsets. United in a poor run of form coming up against League One opposition on a dodgy pitch. It screamed banana skin.
Tranmere ground staff had worked hard to improve the playing surface and as the protective sheet was removed an hour before the game you could see why United could have been in for a difficult afternoon.
Drainage issues meant part of it were practically unplayable but three goals in six first half minutes meant any possible fears of an upset were put to bed.
It was the first time since the 8-2 victory against Arsenal back in 2011 that United had scored at least six in a game and a potential huge embarrassment was avoided with a convincing win.
Magic of the cup
As if any indication was needed about how big a game this was for Tranmere the sold out signs plastered all around the outside of the ground further proved it.
Supporters queued up on Friday having watched their team beat Watford in the third round replay on Thursday night and the air of excitement was around as the home fans greeted the United team bus.
Any hope of Tranmere going through was dashed with a flurry of first half goals but it was still a day for the home support to savour.
Preparation for the derby
United’s free scoring first half enabled Solskjaer to make changes at the break. Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic were both brought off with Tahith Chong and Fred replacing them.
While it was sensible to remove Martial and Matic ahead of the second leg of the league cup semi final on Wednesday eyebrows were raised over the introduction of Fred.
The Brazilian has been key for United in recent weeks and it seemed a bizarre decision for Solskjaer to be risking him in a game where United were in control.
The Norwegian was heavily criticised for bringing Rashford on against Wolves and similar questions would have been asked if something had happened to Fred.
Luckily for United their players left unscathed.
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