Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it is a “privilege” to manage his players as they completed the Premier League double over derby rivals Manchester City for the first time in a decade.
This thunderous encounter was a personal nightmare for Manchester City’s normally reliable Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson, who gifted Solskjaer’s side both goals in sharply contrasting fashion.
He allowed Anthony Martial’s routine shot to squirm under his body from a quick Bruno Fernandes free-kick on the half-hour and then, with seconds left, threw a clearance straight to Scott McTominay, who showed great technique to send a long-range finish, struck first time, into the net in front of a delirious Stretford End.
It is a win that leaves Liverpool – who now have a 25-point lead at the top of the table – requiring only two more wins to secure their first league title for 30 years and Manchester United only three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, after their first derby league double since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
City hotly contested the free-kick, given by referee Mike Dean for a foul by Ilkay Gundogan on Fernandes, that led to Martial’s goal – although United also felt they were denied a penalty when Fred was booked for diving after tangling with Nicolas Otamendi.
Sergio Aguero had a goal ruled out for offside by VAR and even though City enjoyed the greater share of possession, United sealed a crucial win with McTominay’s strike to take their unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions.
“It’s a privilege to be their manager,” Solskjaer told BBC Sport. “They give absolutely everything. They know they are all good players but they want to learn as well.
“We feel we are improving as a squad and a team. We feel the fans want us to do well and they see what we are doing, so it is getting better and better.
“But we are still fifth. We need points to catch Chelsea and Leicester, so need to keep plugging away.”