Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows he got away with one on Wednesday, when his side’s dominant performance but sloppy finishing nearly cost it a berth in the League Cup’s fourth round.
Mason Greenwood scored again, but the 17-year-old’s goal was answered by that of a 16-year-old as League One’s Rochdale took the mighty Red Devils to penalties at Old Trafford.
[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-1 (5-3 pens) Grimsby Town ]
Solskjaer loved Greenwood, but didn’t love his young team’s response to taking the 68th minute lead, as Luke Matheson got one past Sergio Romero.
“We go 1-0 up in many games and today it’s again,” he added. “Go 1-0 up and you think ‘go on then’. It’s the key now and it’s a learning curve for these boys. We need to go for the second. At this club you don’t just sit back and hope that’s enough. If you settle for good enough that’s not what we want.”
United out shot Rochdale 31-6, and you have to appreciate Solskjaer holding up the banner of United’s history and expectations at such a relatively low time in its talent.
Greenwood scored in United’s Europa League defeat of Astana but missed Saturday’s loss to West Ham with tonsillitis.
He returned to the pitch and delivered the goods on Wednesday, putting two of his four shots on target and providing five key passes. From The Manchester Evening News:
“He’s got two great feet,” Solskjaer said. “And scored the penalty with his right. It must be a nightmare for defenders with him one-on-one in the box. He can go both ways which, for me, is fantastic. You can just see that he’s got quality. He will get his share of games. He’s young and we have to allow him to grow.”
It’s Greenwood’s second goal in a very young and promising career. Surely, more are to come. How long before he’s pressing Marcus Rashford for more meaningful playing time?