Tuesday, September 21

Devilish Solskjær Takes a Devilish Blow to Spurs’ Champions League Hopes | United manchester


Jose or Ole? Who would you choose as your next door neighbor? Of course, looks can be deceiving, but there is surely an obvious winner.

Who wants moody, fickle, narcissistic, and frankly a little needy when you could have been reassuringly trustworthy, unfailingly personable, and warmly collegiate? However, if Ole Gunnar Solskjær seems like an infinitely better bet to present a consistently friendly face on the outfield fence, the Manchester United coach’s technical area entry also compared quite well to that of his Old Trafford predecessor Jose Mourinho. , on Sunday.

In the litmus test, United’s visit to Mourinho’s Tottenham was more than intriguing.

Solskjær keeps his ego well disguised, but will have been desperate to atone for the humiliation last October when the Spurs won 6-1 at Old Trafford.

It was a result that the Norwegian describes as the “worst moment” of his career, but since then, the United manager’s holistic approach has captured the hearts and minds of not just Paul Pogba and the company on the pitch, but , critically, of the Old Trafford board of directors. .

While Mourinho was busy sparking creative tensions and indulging the divide and conquer at Spurs, United’s harmony – not to mention the brilliance of Bruno Fernandes, Pogba’s rebirth and a clever counterattack style – fueled a radical and quiet improvement. Solskjær’s side have risen from that nadir 16 six months ago to second, still behind Manchester City but 14 points clear of Spurs, seventh.

However, for much of the first half, an uninitiated spectator might have assumed that the teams were tied on points in the middle of the table. The pace was low, the play often reactive, Pogba and Marcus Rashford kept switching flanks with little effect and everything seemed a bit anticlimactic.

Then, in a wonderful motion blur, Pogba and Edinson Cavani combined for the latter to score. Except it didn’t because it wasn’t allowed after Scott McTominay’s arm briefly caught Son Heung-min in the preamble. If it was accidental, as it certainly seemed, did the goal surely have to stand? What if McTominay, already booked, had to be expelled? When United got cranky and Cavani threatened to throw his toys out of the stroller, Harry Kane cut the chaos, raising the pitch courtesy of a glorious half-volley pass that helped preface Son’s first game.

Coming down the tunnel in the interval, Solskjær looked furious as he exchanged views with Mourinho. However, the United super-deputy manager failed to score 126 goals in 366 games for the club by losing control of his emotions or by being less than analytical, ruthless calculating, and effectively did not allow a VAR controversy or personal rivalry. meddle with your logic for a long time.

Clearly, cool objectivity kicked in before they reached the locker room and the break homily was delivered.

Paul Pogba carries the ball past a stretch Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Paul Pogba passes the ball to a Pierre-Emile Højbjerg who stretches during an impressive performance by the French midfielder. Photograph: Ash Donelon / Manchester United / Getty Images

A study in disciplined aggression, an outraged but incisive United resurfaced in increased pace mode with Pogba, Cavani and Fernandes standing out. Tottenham were forced to retreat defensively, but whatever baseline Mourinho chooses, and he has chosen 16 different combinations this season, they are not strong enough to hold his ground and hold on to a small victory and Fred soon tied the game. .

By now it had turned into a compelling contest. Opportunities came and went, the duel between the two Harrys from England, Kane and Maguire, formed an absorbing subplot and Cavani’s nose dive to make it 2-1 was, like Fernandes’ sublime deception of Sergio Reguilón in the preparation, exquisite.

When superb substitute Mason Greenwood’s goal came in injury time, Solskjær had both the rematch and a well-deserved reward for channeling United’s ire in such a devastating and effective way.

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Coincidentally, it has been almost exactly 23 years since he executed one of the most cynical professional fouls in Premier League history, ensuring United won a point against Newcastle, attacking Rob Lee when the midfielder seemed sure to score the goal. Victory. “It could be a demon,” he recalled. “If I had to hit someone’s ankle, I would hit them hard.”

On Sunday he and his team dealt Mourinho such a devastating blow that no one will be the least bit surprised if Spurs fail to qualify for a Champions League they seem ill-equipped for, the Portuguese is fired this summer and Kane is moved, possibly to Old Trafford.


www.theguardian.com

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