‘Keep going!’ – Relentless Man Utd send a message to title rivals with record-equalling Southampton rout

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After two poor results last week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s
squad was slated, but they regained their confidence with a 9-0 victory at Old

United 9-0 Southampton: Match statistics

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expected his Manchester United players
to respond, but still he wouldn’t have dreamed of what transpired on Tuesday
night at Old Trafford, when his side matched the greatest victory in Premier
League history by beating Southampton with nine unanswered goals.

The game may not have been any better for a team who wants
to do it the hard way. Premier League debutant Alexandre Jankewitz, who was
sent for an early bath for a bad challenge on Scott McTominay with only 71
seconds on the clock, gave them a huge helping hand, but Solskjaer’s charges
deserve immense respect for the brutal way they put their guests to the sword.

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Granted, there will be those that will point to the fact that this historic
win came against a Southampton side that ended with nine players on the
pitch, but this was a statement of United’s character.

After having their self-belief called into question after
disappointing results against Sheffield United and Arsenal last week, they
showcased their desire to continue fighting for the title during a five-star
performance. Indeed, it was difficult not to be impressed by their
“Keep going!” yelled McTominay, after Edinson
Cavani had headed in United’s fourth. Southampton were already dead and
buried but United refused to take a backward step. Even after they netted
their eighth of the evening, they continued to pour forward in search of a
And they got it, too, thus significantly boosting their goal
difference in the process. That could well be crucial in what could be a tight
title race.
“The best teams don’t feel sorry for themselves, they all react
strongly to adversity, which is what I expect now from this group,”
Solskjaer had written in his programme notes. “They’ve shown that
they can bounce back and the onus is on them to do it again.”
They certainly didn’t disappoint their manager. While they were
aided by their almost game-long numerical advantage, their attacking play
deserves commendation. 
The team’s creativity, movement, pressing and mindset could not
be criticised as they closed the gap to Premier League
leaders Manchester City to a single point, albeit having played two
games more.
As goal after goal went past Alex McCarthy, Solskjaer could tick
off one item on his wishlist after another, as United matched their 9-0
demolition of Ipswich from all the way back in 1995.
Marcus Rashford ended a six-game
barren run in the Premier League with a composed finish to double United’s lead,
Cavani made amends after missing big chances against Arsenal, while
Anthony Martial came off the bench to end his goal drought which went back to
January 1 with two goals.
In addition, Bruno Fernandes had his first goal involvement
since New Year’s Day before scoring from the penalty spot to ensure he also got
his name on the scoresheet.
Then there were the full-backs. Luke Shaw, who has been in
formidable form for a while, was on fire, racking up two assists in the
opening 45 minutes, which is more than he had managed in his previous 45
Premier League appearances combined. His link up with Rashford down the
left-hand side meant United were a permanent threat.
Meanwhile, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has been widely criticised for
his forward play, also showed improvement and he drove into the box with
authority and promise. He got the goal his movement deserved and it will no
doubt please Solskjaer, who has been impressed with the improvement he has been
making on the training pitch.
Of course, there was one big negative, but it’s more of a
general issue, as it seems that no Premier League game these days can be
completed without a bit of VAR controversy, which came courtesy of Mike Dean
awarding a spot kick after Martial dived in the area and then showing Jan Bednarek
a straight red card for a perceived professional foul.
till, there was no detracting
from what was a devastating return to form from United. City are undoubtedly
the title favourites, given Pep Guardiola’s men are on an eight-game winning
streak in the Premier League.
But United sent a clear message on Tuesday night that
they’re still in the race. This was the perfect riposte to those that have
doubted them; they proved that it will take more than a couple of bad results
to keep them down.
They’ve clearly still got the stomach for the fight. And, thanks
to Tuesday night’s record-equalling win, they’ve got their confidence back too.

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