A proud Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says that Manchester United had to “earn the right” to thrash Leeds United with energy and intensity.

The Norwegian manager got his team selection spot on and then watched his United side rip their historic rivals to shreds in a ruthless first half.

United worked hard from the start. Solskjaer outlined his pleasure at it post-match.

Solskjaer: 6-2 win vs Leeds down to hard work and energy

“That was fantastic from the first minute,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports after the 6-2 victory.

“We had a plan to get after them, go forwards when we had the ball and Scott McTominay got two goals in the first three minutes!

“We had to earn the right by running as much as them, that’s a challenge. It could have been 12-4! It’s that kind of game.”

Solskjaer pays tribute to missing fans after Manchester United thrash Leeds

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: Scott McTominay of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their sides second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford on December 20, 2020 in Manchester, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution.
There were no fans to celebrate McTominay’s two goals in the opening three minutes (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Solskjaer joked before the game that he had to ‘pop a balloon’ to get his players going in an empty stadium. It was a great shame that no fans could be present to witness one of the great victories for United against Leeds.

 

“We found a way of getting them [the players] going,” Solskjaer explained, before paying homage to the missing supporters.

“Just imagine if there were 75,000 people in, it would have gone down in history as one of the great performances against Leeds.

“Our fans needed that one, they should have been here.

“Yes [I enjoyed it], it was frantic, hectic. No matter what the score is they have a certain attitude or style, if they are 5-0 up or down.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United celebrates after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford on December 20, 2020 in Manchester, England.
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

United manager refuses to talk about Premier League table

Solskjaer’s side moved up into third place with the 6-2 win, leapfrogging Everton in part thanks to their now superior goal difference. He was keen not to focus on the league position.

“We are not even at the halfway point. The league position is not something we look at we look at the improvement of the team.

“Now we are getting fitter and stronger.”

It’s a fantastic day for the club. Leeds had waited 16 years to play United in the Premier League again. When the day came, Solskjaer – a hero of previous meetings between the sides as a player – led United to a dominant victory.

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