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Cardiff 1-5 Manchester United: Reds rampant in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first game

Anthony Martial scores United's third goal
Anthony Martial has scored eight goals in 14 Premier League appearances for Manchester United this season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got off to a perfect start as Manchester United's interim manager with a 5-1 thrashing of his former club Cardiff.

The former United striker succeeded Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in midweek, and got his first win courtesy of a performance that will encourage United fans as some of their more marginalised talent came to the fore in a performance full of attacking intent.

Marcus Rashford's stunning free-kick, a deflected effort from Ander Herrera and a fabulous team goal by Anthony Martial effectively won the contest before half-time for a United side inspired by the recalled Paul Pogba, who had a hand in all three first-half goals.

Victor Camarasa's penalty briefly gave Cardiff hope as they reduced the arrears to 2-1, but Jesse Lingard won and scored a contentious second-half penalty and then rounded Neil Etheridge to tap into an empty net at the death to make the result safe.

It is the first time United have scored five goals in a Premier League game since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson's last game in charge - a 5-5 draw with West Brom in May 2013.

A more attacking United than under Mourinho?

All eyes were on Solskjaer's first selection as United boss, and Pogba was included in the starting line-up.

The World Cup winner and club record signing had been a forlorn-looking substitute for the past three Premier League matches, but returned to a more attack-minded United XI.

Pogba was joined by French forward Martial, who made his 100th Premier League appearance, with Romelu Lukaku away on compassionate leave.

Luke Shaw and Phil Jones returned to a defence that had conceded 29 goals already this term - their worst record since 1962 - as Solskjaer made four changes.

Pogba was involved in the thick of the action inside three minutes, winning a free-kick from Aron Gunnarsson that would give the Norwegian the perfect start to life in the United dugout, Rashford brilliantly finding the bottom corner.

Solskjaer was punching the air in delight with less than four minutes on the clock.

The contest proved an ideal opportunity for Pogba to send a message on the pitch rather than on social media and he certainly appeared less inhibited as the visitors passed with a good tempo and closed down effectively.

United were superior throughout the first period and it was no surprise when they doubled their advantage just before the half-hour mark when Pogba picked out Herrera, whose speculative effort nicked off Greg Cunningham and gave Neil Etheridge no chance.

However, United's defensive fragility reappeared before the interval, with Rashford handballing carelessly when he moved his upper arm towards the ball under little pressure and Camarasa slammed home the penalty.

But in the end, United made light work of a Cardiff side, who had won their past four home games, with attacking flair throughout.

Solskjaer's return intrigues both sets of supporters

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates
New Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge of Cardiff when they were relegated in the 2013-14 season

There was a keen sense of intrigue among both sets of supporters about the presence of Solskjaer in the United dugout.

His appointment as Mourinho's temporary successor caused raised eyebrows in South Wales after his disappointing spell managing the Bluebirds in 2014, which included a relegation from the Premier League.

Solskjaer, 45, is contracted to return to his role as manager at Norwegian club Molde next summer, but Cardiff supporters remember him for a disastrous nine-month spell in charge in the Welsh capital.

Solskjaer scored 126 goals in 366 appearances during his 11 years at Old Trafford and is best remembered for scoring the winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1999, along with collecting six Premier League titles.

The sense of goodwill from United's travelling supporters towards the man they called the 'Baby-Faced Assassin' was obvious - they chanted about their temporary boss from well before kick-off and gave him a rapturous reception when the sides emerged at Cardiff City Stadium.

Before the game, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock had said Solskjaer "could not lose" in his new position. The former striker was keen to get his messages across, moving to the edge of his technical area several times to deliver advice and encourage his team to find more width.

He would have felt slightly unsettled when Cardiff reduced the arrears to 2-1, but a fine team move a minute later saw Martial exchange passes with Pogba and Lingard and fire past Etheridge to give United deserved daylight at the interval.

Cardiff's fine run at home comes to an end

The Bluebirds had won four of their past five Premier League home games, yet the omens were not good for a side chasing a first victory over United in 58 years.

Warnock has failed to beat United in any of his previous seven encounters and, with a two-goal deficit at half-time, that never looked like changing.

United dominated at the start of the second half and Lingard's penalty killed the contest, with United close to adding further goals through Rashford, Phil Jones and Pogba, before Lingard did add the fifth after keeping his composure when clean through to round Etheridge and slot home.

Man of the match - Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba
The recalled United midfielder was at the heart of everything, dominating Cardiff and creating chances for his side in a performance his former boss might not have enjoyed. "Caption this."

'Football is easy with good players' - What they said

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Cardiff 1-5 Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delighted with performance

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "Football is easy if you've got good players! They are a great bunch of players and their quality is unbelievable.

"I arrived on Wednesday night and only had Thursday and Friday with the players. Wayne Rooney texted me and gave me some advice - so it must be down to him! He told me to make them play football, enjoy themselves and be Manchester United.

"The foundation was in the defending. I thought the two centre-backs and two full-backs were brilliant."

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Cardiff 1-5 Manchester United: Neil Warnock admits that the 5-1 loss is an 'embarrassment'

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock: "If you'd told me at the start of this season that we'd be out of the bottom three at Christmas I'd have snapped your hand off.

"We've got two big games coming up [at Crystal Palace and Leicester]. We know we need to improve our away form. I wasn't disappointed in the effort, it was just misdirected at times.

"At half-time I still thought we had a chance. I thought if we get the next goal we might get something. It's very disappointing."

Scoring big on the first day - the best of the stats

  • Since Ferguson left the club, four of the five different managers to take charge of United have seen their side score three or more goals in their first Premier League game (Moyes 4, Mourinho 3, Giggs 4 and Solskjaer 5).
  • Warnock suffered his 50th Premier League defeat, in what was his 92nd game in the competition - only Mick McCarthy (79), Danny Wilson (87) and Gary Megson (91) have reached 50 defeats in fewer games managed.
  • Cardiff have lost each of their past 14 Premier League games against 'big six' opponents, conceding 45 goals in this run.
  • Martial has been directly involved in 70 goals for United in all competitions (45 goals, 25 assists); the most of any player for the club since his debut in September 2015.
  • Rashford has had a hand in more Premier League goals this season than any other United player (9 - four goals and five assists).
  • United's third goal against Cardiff - scored by Anthony Martial - was the 500th netted in the Premier League this season.
  • Martial made his 100th appearance for United in the Premier League, becoming just the fourth Frenchman to reach this tally for the club after Eric Cantona, Mikael Silvestre and Patrice Evra.

What's next?

Cardiff travel to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, December 26 (15:00 GMT), while Manchester United take on Huddersfield at Old Trafford (15:00).

Line-ups

Cardiff

  • 1Etheridge
  • 5Ecuele Manga
  • 4Morrison
  • 22Bamba
  • 18CunninghamBooked at 79mins
  • 17GunnarssonBooked at 58minsSubstituted forRallsat 83'minutes
  • 33HoilettSubstituted forK Harrisat 74'minutes
  • 21Camarasa
  • 7ArterSubstituted forZohoreat 61'minutes
  • 11Murphy
  • 13Paterson

Substitutes

  • 2Peltier
  • 8Ralls
  • 10Zohore
  • 12Smithies
  • 14Reid
  • 19Mendez-Laing
  • 23K Harris

Man Utd

  • 1De Gea
  • 18Young
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 4Jones
  • 23ShawBooked at 35mins
  • 21Herrera
  • 31MaticSubstituted forFellainiat 87'minutes
  • 6Pogba
  • 14Lingard
  • 10RashfordSubstituted forFredat 79'minutes
  • 11MartialSubstituted forPereiraat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bailly
  • 8Mata
  • 15Pereira
  • 17Fred
  • 20Dalot
  • 22Romero
  • 27Fellaini
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
33,028

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home26%
Away74%
Shots
Home9
Away17
Shots on Target
Home3
Away9
Corners
Home4
Away7
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Cardiff City 1, Manchester United 5.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Cardiff City 1, Manchester United 5.

Goal!

Goal! Cardiff City 1, Manchester United 5. Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul Pogba with a through ball.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Victor Lindelöf.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Marouane Fellaini replaces Nemanja Matic.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Andreas Pereira replaces Anthony Martial.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Ralls (Cardiff City).

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Joe Ralls replaces Aron Gunnarsson.

Offside, Cardiff City. Greg Cunningham tries a through ball, but Josh Murphy is caught offside.

Foul by Anthony Martial (Manchester United).

Sol Bamba (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Fred replaces Marcus Rashford.

Booking

Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City).

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by David De Gea.

Attempt saved. Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Josh Murphy.

Attempt blocked. Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Greg Cunningham.

Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Sol Bamba (Cardiff City) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Víctor Camarasa with a cross following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Kadeem Harris replaces David Junior Hoilett.

Foul by Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United).

Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Kenneth Zohore with a cross.

Attempt saved. Phil Jones (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Neil Etheridge.

Attempt saved. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Anthony Martial.

Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Víctor Camarasa with a cross following a set piece situation.

Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).

David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Luke Shaw (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City).

Attempt missed. Sol Bamba (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Víctor Camarasa with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by David De Gea.

Attempt saved. Josh Murphy (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Victor Lindelöf with a through ball.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool1815303973248
2Man City18142250133744
3Tottenham17130431161539
4Chelsea18114335152037
5Arsenal18114340241637
6Man Utd188553430429
7Watford188372525027
8Bournemouth188282728-126
9Leicester187472221125
10Wolves187471921-225
11Everton176652422224
12West Ham187382527-224
13Brighton186392026-621
14Crystal Palace1853101725-818
15Newcastle184591422-817
16Southampton183691933-1415
17Cardiff1842121838-2014
18Burnley1833121636-2012
19Huddersfield1824121131-2010
20Fulham1824121642-2610
View full Premier League table

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