Manchester United responded to losing against Bournemouth on November 2 by scoring three goals in back to back home matches.
The last time United netted thrice in consecutive games was the 3-1 away victory against Paris Saint-Germain which followed a win over Southampton in March and few could argue that match provided a long-term template for attacking success.
But where United slackened off against Partizan Belgrade in midweek, they carried on pouring forward when 3-1 up on Graham Potter’s Seagulls.
That’s very encouraging to see and it looks as if United may have learned a lesson.
What happened against Partizan?
Before the match, the Guardian quoted Solskjaer telling his side to ‘fill their boots’ against the Serbians.
And when Marcus Rashford made it 3-0 on 49 minutes, United seemed perfectly primed to do exactly that and wrack up a serious scoreline.
In actual fact, they slackened off, failing to make the most of their momentum and continue making chances.
64 per cent possession only yielded seven shots on target and the goal chances completely dried up after the hour mark.
It was still a comfortable victory for United but an opportunity to score even more goals was missed
That hinted at a lack of ruthlessness and a lethargy that lurks just below the surface of the current United squad.
What changed against Brighton?
Against Brighton, Lewis Dunk’s goal to make it 2-1 on 64 minutes appeared to light a fire under United.
Rashford netted United’s third goal of the game for the second time in a matter of days two minutes later and the scare ensured they remained on the front foot until the end.
United had just 43 per cent possession but had 21 shots, 11 on target – showing that their strength lies on the counter attack once more.
Both Anthony Martial and Rashford both missed chances that more ruthless marksman might have scored – that will have to change – but the intent to go forward and add to the tally was a welcome alteration.
United haven’t scored a hat-trick in the Premier League since 2013 – Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge – and that can be partially attributed to a lack of ruthlessness and intent when already in command.
That’s why the Brighton match made such a welcome change. The next step is to find the net with regularity to boost that goal tally and make United a team to be feared once again.
- Three reasons for optimism ahead of the Manchester derby
- Is history repeating itself as Joel Pereira’s loan spell takes an almighty nosedive?
- Predicted Manchester United XI v Manchester City
- United face new threat for Jadon Sancho’s signature
- What to make of Solskjaer’s ‘best team’ comment?