Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted by Manchester United’s performance against rivals Leeds and saluted record-breaking “physical monster” Scott McTominay for his man-of-the-match display.
The Norwegian celebrated two years in the Old Trafford hot seat in style on Sunday as the old foes met in a top-flight encounter for the first time since February 2004.
McTominay set the tone by becoming the first player in Premier League history to score twice in the opening three minutes of a match, with Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof also netting in the first half.
The first time we've scored six or more in a #PL game since United 8 Arsenal 2 in 2011…
And look who was there to enjoy it ❤️
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 20, 2020
Liam Cooper pulled one back for Leeds just before the break, but Daniel James and a Fernandes penalty put the hosts further ahead before Stuart Dallas scored a stunning consolation as the match ended 6-2.
“Fantastic game by the boys,” United boss Solskjaer said. “We know they’re going to challenge you, test you physically, tactically as well because it’s a different game.
“It’s almost like going back to the old German teams with a sweeper and the rest man-marked.
“We had to find a way of creating space, stopping them and of course when we get the start we did it helps.
“But they keep coming until the end and I think we showed that we can physically match them.”
McTominay was the star man in Sunday’s win and Solskjaer was full of praise for the academy graduate, who is a doubt for the Carabao Cup clash at Everton with a groin injury picked up towards the end of the match.
“We knew they were high-energy and intense moments,” the United boss said. “But the movement of the front lads and the cleanliness of some of the moves gave Scott that space in front of him with the ball at his feet.
“He’s a physical monster. He does all his work every single day meticulously – never shirks anything and he gets his reward by his fitness.
“His technical work as well is improving, the space in front of him he can run (into).
“He can do everything. He used to be a striker and knows how to score goals. I think he proved today that he’s a handful in and around the box as well.
“I’m very pleased with him and that energy and drive in attack like this was important.”
This was the first time a club managed by Marcelo Bielsa has conceded six goals in a match since February 1992, leaving the Leeds head coach understandably frustrated.
“The chances created in the first half were similar in the amount of opportunities – the difference in the first half was that they took their chances and we didn’t,” Bielsa said.
“The way that both teams attacked was different. They took advantage of our misplaced passes when we were trying to create an attack and that’s how they created the majority of their chances.
“When we weren’t able to finish our attacks, our return was not as quick as their transition.
“It’s very difficult to take, we’re very sad and we regret that we weren’t able to make more of the game.”