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Solskjaer satisfaction with classic Man United counter-attacking display against Gunners

The interim manager says the approach has worked well against the Gunners through the years.

Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

MANCHESTER UNITED ADDED another counter-attacking masterclass to the history books in their encounters against Arsenal in Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round win, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Red Devils were electric on the break at Emirates Stadium and ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from ex-Gunner Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.

Solskjaer believes it was no coincidence such a tactic proved fruitful, pointing to past examples – including the 2009 Champions League semi-final – as proof for his point.

“If you go through the history and the games we’ve played against Arsenal that’s how it is,” he told MUTV. 

“I remember a goal I scored in 1997 after we defended a corner – it went from Giggsy [Ryan Giggs] to Karel [Poborsky] to Andy [Cole] and into me. 

“Everyone knows about the classic Champions League goal [in 2009] with Ji [Park Ji-sung], Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Wayne [Rooney] running forward. 

“Wazza has scored a couple more like that, as has Ji, so the counter-attacking threat that we have is in our history against Arsenal.”

One tactical surprise was the deployment of Romelu Lukaku on the right of a front three with Lingard playing more centrally.

But Lukaku vindicated the decision by assisting the first two goals and Solskjaer says it is a tactic he is happy to employ.

“Rom has played there for Belgium and Everton,” he added at a post-match news conference.

“It’s a tactic we can use and we know how strong he is. He held the ball up and ran the channel. It was a fantastic pass for Alexis’ goal. It was a great finish.”

Solskjaer also reserved special praise for Lingard, who has at times split opinion among pundits.

“Jesse’s a big game-player,” Solskjaer said. “He’s shown that for England, for us. He always pops up with goals.

“Jesse is someone we never, never hesitate to put in a Man United team and he’s been brought through this system, he knows what this means, he knows the club, he knows this history, he knows all the counter-attacking goals we’ve scored against Arsenal.

“He knows everything about the club and he’s someone we’ll look after.”

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