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Manchester United picked up a routine win in the end over Real Sociedad to put themselves in the driving seat to reach the next stage of the Europa League.
The Round of 32 clash, held at the Allianz Stadium due to travel restrictions, ended 4-0 to United thanks to a brace from Bruno Fernandes before Marcus Rashford and Daniel James wrapped up proceedings with late strikes.
The Red Devils looked in very little danger throughout the tie in northern Italy, but will have to guard against complacency for the second leg next Thursday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprung few surprises, but his side did a stellar job against a dangerous opponent in Sociedad.
Here’s four things he got exactly right in the comfortable victory at Juventus’ stomping ground.
Risking Bruno Fernandes
Some may have been surprised when they saw Fernandes’ name in the starting XI, but Solskjaer showed why it was the right decision to risk his star man as the Portuguese completed something of a rout against Sociedad.
Fernandes scored twice in pretty trademark style, and dictated the play from the word go, showing why he is one of the best players in the world right now.
With a three-goal cushion away from home, Solskjaer would be pretty justified in giving him a rest in the second leg next week.
Keeping faith with McTominay
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Scott McTominay once again showed why he is a vital player for United with another rock-solid display in midfield.
The 24-year-old only lasted an hour, but he looked composed on the ball, and even beat his man a few times, showing how well his all-round play has developed.
Solskjaer clearly values McTominay highly, and it’s becoming clear to see exactly why.
Playing it safe
The temptation must have been there to finally give Amad his debut as hype continues to build around the Ivorian, but he was made to wait for a cameo role in the dying moments.
But Solskjaer went with what he knew in Daniel James, who provided the assist for Fernandes’ second strike.
Shola Shoretire was also on the bench, but instead of taking any unnecessary risks, Solskjaer went with the safe option of Nemanja Matic to see out the game with half an hour left to play.
Pace, pace, pace
Solskjaer said before the match that he was looking for pace to do the business, picking Mason Greenwood ahead of Edinson Cavani up front and Daniel James over Juan Mata on the right-wing.
Marcus Rashford showed his potent threat on the left-wing too to score United’s third, as James also looked to make things happen on the opposite side, and finally reaped his rewards in the final minutes with a goal.
Greenwood did not have his best game, but he didn’t really need to in fairness, with Fernandes running the show behind him.
- Marcus Rashford
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Manchester United FC
- Europa League
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