Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his side’s ruthlessness after Manchester United equalled a Premier League record by thrashing Southampton 9-0 on Tuesday night.
Saints had their work cut out from the moment Alex Jankewitz was sent off for an ugly challenge on Scott McTominay just 79 seconds into his first Premier League start.
United racked up the goals to equal the biggest win in the competition’s history, level with their own 9-0 victory over Ipswich in 1995 and Leicester’s nine-goal humiliation of Southampton last season.
Asked following the game if he was pleased by the ruthless streak shown by his players, Solskjaer said: “They were (ruthless). It came from them. They drove it on, the players out there.
“I thought they played the game properly because we had to. Sometimes when you play against 10 men they sit behind the ball, make it hard for you, defend well and they can break on you.
“We played the game properly, we switched it from side to side, threatening in behind them, some good individual movements and performances. We played it the way we had to.
“When you play football you have to make the most of it – it might be the last game you play, you never know. So, we played like it could’ve been the last game.”
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate…
If one point from two games had caused belief in Manchester United’s title hopes to wane, this was an emphatic way to restore it. A record-equalling Premier League victory as Southampton were beaten 9-0 at Old Trafford, this win moves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side back level on points with Manchester City at the top of the table. Game on.
United’s attack has not been firing so well of late with even Bruno Fernandes looking a little off it. The failure to score at Arsenal even had Luke Shaw criticising the performance. “We didn’t look like we wanted to play,” he said. “We created the chances and failed to score again and it cost us two points. At times we were too slow. We were sloppy.”
The speed was back in their play here with Shaw creating more chances against his old club than he had done in any of his previous 173 appearances in the competition, despite being substituted at half-time. He had two assists by then and had helped lay on another as both he and Aaron Wan-Bissaka raided forward to great effect from the full-back positions.
The 9-0 scoreline will bring back memories of the win over Ipswich in 1995 but five of those goals came from one player, Andy Cole. The satisfaction for Solskjaer is that seven different United players were on target here with both Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial scoring.
The whole forward line might just have played themselves into form on a night when United scored as many goals as they had managed in the previous eight Premier League games combined. The seventh of the nine goals made them the outright top scorers this season.
Manchester City still have two games in hand, of course, and rightly remain title favourites. But just as United were showing signs of fading, they have sparked back to life with a standout result to remember. Winnable games against Everton, West Brom and Newcastle offer hope they can prolong the challenge into March. Anything can happen then…