Manchester United are, once again, derby winners, holding off an aggressive Manchester City to a 2-0 win.
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It is 10 games unbeaten now for United, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer couldn’t be more content for a group of players – and fan base – that were on the other side of the spectrum not too long ago.
“The desire, attitude, commitment,” he said. “The connection between fans and players and the team. What a day they’ve had today, both the players and the fans. Of course they made us defend, that’s the type of players they are, but if our fans can see players with attitude and commitment and desire, then we’ve done our job as coaches today.”
Such positive result means United have achieved a league double of rivals City, and that they consolidate their hopes of making a top-four finish. Bruno Fernandes continues to demonstrate he was well worth the transfer dilemma, contributing two goals and three assists since joining from Sporting in January. The Portuguese international and Anthony Martial have been vital throughout the Red Devils’ fine run of form.
“Anthony and Bruno have hit if off,” the Norwegian manager said about his players. “It is a privilege to be a manager of a squad with this attitude. You can’t ask for more. They are going to improve as players as well.”
It’s worth asking how Solskjaer will navigate the coming weeks on the back of such palpable, positive momentum. United may be flying high, but they close out March with both legs of their Round of 16 Europa League matchup, a league bout against Tottenham, and Norwich City in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
That, in addition to United’s overdefensive posture against City, will may be two topics Solskjaer and company may look over in the coming days. It’s been affective, but is it sustainable in the long run?
For now, it’s time to celebrate that Manchester is, once again, red.
“Well of course it’s a derby, the fans love it, the players love it,” Solskjaer said. “For our players to beat the team that’s Man City, with the problems that we’ve had as well, it’s fantastic. I’m just delighted for them. We played against an absolute top, top team. Of course we had to defend and they had possession, but we’re delighted with the outcome.”