Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Dean Henderson’s mixed display against Sheffield United as ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ and applauded the way the goalkeeper reacted to his horrendous early blunder after Manchester United’s nervy 3-2 win.
Eyebrows were raised as Henderson replaced David de Gea in Solskjaer’s starting XI at Bramall Lane and the 23-year-old had a nightmare start on his former stomping ground, gifting United’s bottom-placed opposition their opening goal in only the fifth minute.
The young Englishman was caught in possession by Oliver Burke on the edge of his six-yard box after a lapse in concentration and the ball fell to David McGoldrick, who made no mistake from close range to break the deadlock for the Blades.
Marcus Rashford scored either side of Anthony Martial’s 33rd-minute strike to give United the lead but McGoldrick struck again late on to set up a nail-biting finish to Thursday’s Premier League clash.
The Red Devils had Henderson to thank at the death as the shot-stopper partly made up for his early error with a smart save to deny Lys Mousset and the visitors held on to move up to sixth in the table.
Asked to sum up Henderson’s performance, United head coach Solskjaer told Amazon Prime Video: ‘The good, the bad and the ugly! Maybe in a different chronological order.
‘But it’s a test and he’s always learning.
‘He comes back here and he’s probably been looking forward to this for a long while and to get that start just shows his character for the rest of the game.’
On United’s overall display, the Norwegian said: ‘It could have been more comfortable and there’s a couple of reasons for that.
‘We were a little bit sloppy at 3-1 up, we created some chances.
‘The corner that led to the second goal wasn’t a corner but then when it goes in, it’s really difficult at the end because they are a handful in a very unorthodox way but very direct and physical and it made it hard for us.’
Solskjaer was pleased with the way Rashford, Martial and Mason Greenwood coped with the ‘physical test’ presented by Sheffield United’s robust defenders.
‘Obviously with the pace and the skill in these boys, the quality of the touches and movement, I thought all three goals were excellent,’ he added.
‘Then again, I wanted to test them here today because we knew it was going to be a physical test with the fight and they’re gonna get kicked.’
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