Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he will never erase the nightmare of his side’s 5-0 defeat against Liverpool last weekend, as his players kept him in a job with a 3-0 win at Tottenham.
A stunning goal by Cristiano Ronaldo and second-half strikes from Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford saw United seal a win to collect the points in north London and gave the Norwegian a bit of breathing space after a week when speculation swirled over his future at the club.
Yet he still faces a big week, with a Champions League clash against Atalanta followed by a Premier League showdown with Manchester City next weekend. Solskjaer accepted the win at Spurs was only the start of what is required.
“Of course when you come off the pitch winning 3-0, keeping the ball away from our goal – David de Gea didn’t have a save to make – that’s pleasing,” began Solskjaer.
“We worked on this this week. The boys were brilliant, they took it on board.
“Great goals, all of them. The first one is the major one. What a pass from Bruno (Fernandes) and Cristiano is the best. If he misses one he’s still as focused for the next one. What a goal. If he’s not up there when all these balls come in, I don’t know.
“We’ve built this performance on hard work, discipline and keeping the ball away from our goal. Spaces will open up especially if you get the first goal.
“The first goal always decides how the game goes. We’ve got a hard week again. Champions League game then City. We’ve got to digest this one and be ready for Tuesday.”
When asked whether this win eases the pain of the Liverpool drubbing he insisted that result will never be forgotten.
“That result is always going to be in the history books – one of the darkest days,” he added of the Liverpool defeat. “A dark spot on our CV. But football becomes history so quickly.
“The experience of Edinson Cavani and Cristiano is massive. We need it. We can’t hide. The week has been difficult for all the players. They really stuck at it. Experience counts in situations like this.”
Solskjaer also got an endorsement from Rashford, as he insisted the club are united in a will to succeed.
“It’s obviously been a difficult week, it is for any team when you don’t win,” he told Sky Sports. “We’ve responded the only way we know how. The staff, the players all want to win.
“Playing for Man Utd there’s always pressure, you have to learn to enjoy it. Part of playing for this club is to come out of difficult moments. This club has always bounced back.
“I think the manager prepared for the team we’re playing against. We all have to buy into what the manager tells us to do. Today that helped us come away with the three points.
“There’s more to come. As long as we keep improving, keep picking up points, we’ll see where we are come the end of the season.”
Roy Keane insisted United need to build on the win at Tottenham, as he wants to see that level of performance consistently.
“When you are playing for Manchester United, you need to put in good performances week in, week out,” the former United and Ireland captain told Sky Sports.
“If they have to play counter-attacking football for the next few months then go with it. This team works well playing like that and I wasn’t surprised to see them revert to that for this game.
“They were conceding too many goals with really, really poor defending, so something had to be done. Sit it, hit teams on the break and Tottenham were the perfect team for them to play in this game.”