Ole Gunnar Solskjaer travelled to St. James Park hoping to put the humiliating 6-1 defeat against Tottenham behind him. He wanted a response from his team but probably had his head in his hands after a Luke Shaw own goal put the hosts ahead in the second minute.
There was an air of nervousness around every Manchester United fan ahead of the game. The Red Devils were without Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani, and Mason Greenwood, which had prompted Solskjaer to elevate Rashford to the No. 9 role with Juan Mata and Daniel James either side of him.
United were lacking firepower up front, and being a goal down in the second minute of the game, might have resulted in players experiencing a sense of deja vu.
However, Manchester United fought their way back into the game through a captain’s goal from Harry Maguire in the 23rd minute. Their dominance and tenacity on the field was rewarded in the 86th minute when Bruno Fernandes – who also missed from the spot earlier – finally put his team ahead.
It was a goal that would have thrilled United fans, as Donny van de Beek, Mata, Rashford, and Fernandes tore the Newcastle team to shreds in a blistering counter-attack.
Rashford then teed up Aaron Wan Bissaka to score Manchester United’ third of the night in the 90th minute before the Englishman put the final nail in the Newcastle coffin himself 6 minutes into injury time. Central to the exquisite performance were the three men Shearer picked out for special praise.
Shearer believes Manchester United trio were too good for Newcastle to handle
Even though the defeat must have hurt the former Newcastle United striker, Shearer was visibly impressed with the creativity of Mata and Fernandes. The Spaniard picked up an assist for Maguire's goal and his connection with Fernandes and later van de Beek was too much for the Magpies to handle.
Fernandes also picked up an assist when he unleashed Rashford to score Manchester United’s 4th of the night.
"I thought Fernandes and Mata were so clever. They stood in those little pockets, in those holes, and Newcastle couldn’t handle it. They were just too good on the ball and showed so much creativity. Those two on the ball, they can punish teams and they caused problems all evening," Shearer commented.
Shearer also had only good words to say about his countryman Rashford, who had one goal and two assists on the night.
"Rashford was excellent as well with his goal and two assists. The weight of passing from United was brilliant," Shearer continued.
The Englishman went on the praise Solskjaer too, for steering Manchester United back to winning ways after the Tottenham fiasco.
"You have to say well done to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the debacle against Tottenham," said Shearer about the United manager.
While Mata, Fernandes, and Rashford were excellent, one man who impressed off the bench was van de Beek. The Dutchman, who has been unlucky not to get his first start for Manchester United so far, immediately looked at home after coming on and seemed to be on the same wavelength as Mata and Fernandes.
His presence added another dimension to Manchester United’s game and his tenacity, intelligence and passing prowess was crucial for his team’s second of the night, which ultimately helped kickstart a goal-fest at the end.Published 19 Oct 2020, 21:04 IST