United’s trio of summer signings impress in 4-0 opening-round victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford
Last Updated: 11/08/19 10:04pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saluted his new Manchester United recruits after their seamless adaptation to life at Old Trafford in Sunday’s 4-0 thumping of Chelsea.
Summer signings Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka made their Premier League debuts for the club and both impressed as United kicked off the season with a clean sheet to go with their resounding victory.
“They slotted in really well,” United boss Solskjaer said. “Harry has had three or four sessions with the team but he’s such an experienced professional.
“He’s done exactly what we’ve signed him for, his presence in both boxes, his calmness and composure on the ball. We’ve had a couple of talks with him about how we want to play and that will only improve.
“He’s a leader and with him, David de Gea and Victor Lindelof they marshalled that back line really well. It is important to have strong personalities at the back.
“Aaron is so aggressive and doesn’t want to get beaten by tackles, he’s a proper Manchester United defender.”
Daniel James came off the bench to make his Premier League debut for the club and marked the occasion with United’s fourth goal in front of the Stretford End.
Maguire already making the difference
Harry Maguire’s Manchester United debut showed his importance
“Suddenly you become a good player, don’t you?” Solskjaer added, when asked about James cameo from the bench. “No, it’s hard work and dedication and it’s what you want from a pro.
“He has pace and he’s got an X factor, he’s worked really hard and so pleased for him, it’s been a summer of ups and downs as we all know so to score in front of the Stretford End must be a proud moment for him.”
Pogba receives praise
After a summer of speculation over his future, Paul Pogba returned to Old Trafford, with Solskjaer deploying him in a deeper-lying role in United’s midfield.
It was far from a vintage performance from the Frenchman, who gave possession away cheaply in a disjointed first-half display, but he gave everyone a timely reminder of the quality he possesses with two trademark assists for United third and fourth goals.
“Paul can do many, many jobs, he can do the attacking midfield job and today he was more of a link player and when you’ve got [Victor] Lindelof, Maguire and David [de Gea] at the back they can feed Paul the ball, so he’ll get the ball in good positions,” Solskjaer said.
“Paul can do everything a midfielder can, today he was asked to play that sitting role. Chelsea pegged us back too much in the first half, so he had to do and loads of running with [Ross] Barkley down the channels.
“I thought they created a few problems for us then, but we’re fit and he’s fit. That third pass is a fantastic pass for the third goal and the run for the fourth, I just wanted him to go all the way, I was thinking ‘open up your legs son!'”
Risk and reward
United’s ruthlessness in front of goal made them worthy winners in the end, but the result was harsh on a Chelsea side that created more chances, struck the woodwork twice and enjoyed more possession at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer insists there is room for improvement for his side, adding: “We can count ourselves a little bit lucky to go in 1-0 up. Chelsea pinned us back and created a few chances.
“But we settled a few nerves at half-time and the second half was outstanding, we defended well in shape and counter-attacked well.
“The boys have been working hard but this is still the start, we can still get some hard work in. We have found a way we want to play they’ve made us coaches believe in that way. We took risks but that’s the way here, you’ve got to go for it, risk and reward.”
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