Later News Oct 31

Solskjaer credits “old men” for leading Manchester United to win over Spurs in ‘El Sackico’


Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shut his critics up with the help of geriatric duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, as his side beat an uninspired Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 early this morning (SGT).

 

In a match dubbed ‘El Sackico’ by gleeful rival fans – in recognition of the tenuous position both Solskjaer and his Spurs counterpart, Nuno Espirito Santo, find themselves in at their respective clubs – it was the Norwegian who came out on top at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium to earn himself at least another week of goodwill.

 

WATCH: Solskjaer relieved after United's win over Spurs

 

Solskjaer even managed to spring a surprise on poor, unsuspecting Nuno, as he utilised tactics – a concept previously thought to be beyond the capabilities of the United boss – to change his formation to a back-three/five, with two forwards in Ronaldo and Cavani up top.

 

And it worked a treat, with Spurs unable to muster even a single shot on target against the visitors, despite having more of the possession.

 

But United’s victory also came about courtesy of what Solskjaer termed as the ‘old men’ of United, with Ronaldo opening the scoring in the 39th minute with an exquisite strike from a tight angle.

 

Ronaldo then turned provider in the 64th minute as he played a pinpoint through pass for his retirement home buddy to score.

 

But substitute Marcus Rashford spoiled the ‘Old is Gold’ theme of the day in the 86th minute, as he ghosted through a non-existent Spurs defence and sidefooted home to put some gloss on the scoreline.

 

After the game, Solskjaer credited the ‘experience’ of his players on the pitch for the victory. In particular, he hailed the striker partnership of Ronaldo and Cavani, as he said: “Ronaldo and Cavani's experience shone through today; both of them led the line really well all week, from training on Tuesday morning to tonight.

 

WATCH: A look back at Cavani's historic career at PSG

 

“[Starting both of them] is something we might do again later but it's something that worked tonight, that's for sure.

 

“Both of them have been really good. Tuesday morning's training session by Edinson Cavani is probably the best I've seen by an individual since I've come here. He led the line, led by example to everyone, and showed how to change the mood and the performance.

 

“The two of them were told early on they were going to play up front as a two and they have been like two peas in a pod. They have been really close, and it worked today; two excellent goals by the two of them.”

 

At the other end of the dugout, Nuno’s future at Spurs is now looking even bleaker than the performance his team put out against United, with the Portuguese being booed by his own fans after he substituted Lucas Moura for Steven Bergwijn in the 52nd minute.

 

Even homegrown darling Harry Kane was not spared the jeers, with the England international realising that Harvey Dent was right all along – if you stay long enough, you will see yourself become the villain.

 

A dejected Nuno admitted after the game that he understood why the fans were so vocal in their criticism of the team.

 

WATCH: Nuno understands fans' negative reaction

 

“We are not on the right track. I totally understand the criticism. It’s part of football. When the team doesn’t perform, the fans suffer. The fans are not happy, they have showed they’re not happy,” said Nuno.

 

“It’s up to us to take it, tell them we try our best, tell them we are sorry because we didn’t perform as we wanted. We keep on trying. And in a humble way ask them support us all the way.”

 

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