The Portuguese superstar scored one goal and created another as the under-fire Red Devils claimed a vital 3-0 victory in north London
Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 Manchester United: Match Statistics
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had asked for a reaction from his Manchester United players – and this time he got one.
The Premier League’s greatest escape artist is still under enormous pressure but a 3-0 win against Tottenham certainly eases that slightly going into what is another huge week for the Norwegian.
Solskjaer has been clinging on to his job after last Sunday's humiliating 5-0 loss at home to LIverpool, so there wouldn’t have been many who would have bet beforehand that his opposite number in the Tottenham dugout would end the game in a more perilous position.
Indeed, Solskjaer could not have wished for a more amenable opponent to "get back on track". This is not to say all of his problems have been solved, of course.
There is a long way to go for Solskjaer to fully turn United's season around. Even in spite of this convincing win, there are still some doubts that he is really the right man to take the club he loves to the next level.
But this was, at least, an encouraging response to last weekend’s hammering at the hands of their greatest rivals.
Going into this game in north London, Solskjaer had to find a way to stop the bleeding. Harry Maguire did not need to look at the defensive statistics tables, where United sit bottom, to know the defending has been abysmal so far this season.
Nine goals conceded in their last two Premier League games meant their most important job at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was keeping a clean sheet, which is why going to a back five was an obvious decision.
For the first time in a long time, they looked like a team with a plan and a structure. They were compact, resolute and organised, and were rewarded with their first shout in the Premier League since their August trip to Wolves.
Admittedly, they were aided by a dreadful Tottenham side who failed to muster a shot on target throughout, but Solskjaer should be happy with the improvement in his defensive line.
Solskjaer was greeted by chants of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ from the home support but when Marcus Rashford slotted home United's third goal of the evening, 'We want Nuno out’ was ringing around the arena.
Three points against a mediocre Spurs team won't be enough to silence Solskjaer's critics, of course. There are tougher challenges on the horizon in the coming seven days.
But, for now, this result, the formation change and their 70-year-old strike partnership of Cristiano Ronaldo (36) and Edinson Cavani (34) did more than enough to stick a plaster over some of the wounds opened up by Liverpool six days ago.
While the clean sheet will be regarded as the biggest positive, the control in midfield was very welcome, and it was also good to see the return of some clinical finishing.
They still look like a team who will have to rely on moments of individual brilliance to triumph but with Ronaldo in the ranks, there’s always a high chance of something incredible happening.
A sublime volley from the Portugal international ended his run of four Premier League games without a goal and he then turned provider, putting Cavani through for United's second of the game.
Solskjaer didn't celebrate the Uruguayan's cool, dinked finish. He remained fixated on the linesman waiting to see if the goal would be ruled out; it wasn’t. There would be no respite for Spurs.
There was for Solskajer, though. ‘Ole’s at the wheel’ rang out loudly from the away end as the full-time whistle was blown.
Who knows for how much longer, but if United can continue putting in performances like this, he won't be going anywhere for a while yet.
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