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Solskjaer claims ‘winning is a habit’ following 4-0 victory

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Manchester United came out all guns blazing, thumping Chelsea 4-0 in a season-opener that will stay etched in the minds of many.

To the eye, such complete performance indicates that the Red Devils are exactly where they need to be already – aggressive offensively, disciplined in the back and feeding off of Paul Pogba‘s enchanting wizardry to seal games off. Then again, it’s only a positive result in the first match of a long, demanding season – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s first full season at the helm, to be exact. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he comprehends the PL’s environment better than most, though.

“4-0 you can’t dream of more or expect more but then again we are working on improving as a team and finding a style that suits us a team,” Solskjaer told the BBC. “We still need time but it is coming.

“Team spirit has been fantastic,” he added. “We started 1 July as the aim to get as many players fit for this game. We had everybody bar Eric Bailly fit. There are a lot of disappointed players who wanted to be part of this start. But they wanted to be here and they are happy to be part of a winning start.”

[ MORE: 3 things we learned

From Pogba, to Marcus Rashford, to Anthony Martial, Sunday’s big stage at Old Trafford was good to the home side, specifically to debutant Daniel James, 21, who scored in the 81st minute after coming on as a substitute. “It was a big moment for him,” the Norwegian manager said about the Englishmen’s impressive cameo. “He has had a tough summer and some ups and downs in life so I am happy for his debut goal.”

Manchester United are on the right path: winning in convincing manner at home, against one of their fiercest rivals. But it’s not new news at Old Trafford, where winning is second nature and expectations are sky-high.

If you don’t think that’s the case, just ask Solskjaer.

“Winning is a habit,” the 46-year-old manager confessed. “We are lucky to go in 1-0 up but in second half our nerves settled, our confidence grew.”

Chelsea’s Lampard: ‘We made four mistakes’ in 4-0 loss

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Yes, Chelsea was quite good in the first half of their 4-0 season-opening loss to Manchester United, but we have to question whether new manager Frank Lampard saw the rest of the match.’

“It was nowhere near a 4-0,” Lampard said after the Sunday loss at Old Trafford. “Four mistakes for the goals, but we controlled major parts of the first half. We hit the woodwork, poor decisions in the final third, we should be in the lead at half-time.”

[ MORE: Match recap | Maguire reacts ]

Right, but what about that second half?

United poured goals over Chelsea in the final half-hour, with Paul Pogba cutting the defense apart with a delightful long ball to Marcus Rashford and an incisive assist to Daniel James.

Four significant mistakes, in fact, number four. That’s real. And Lampard was making excuses before saying he didn’t want to make excuses. From Sky Sports:

“We are missing internationals and big players but I don’t want to make excuses. The team we put out today was clearly competing in the game for long periods but we made four mistakes and they were clinical in the way they put them away.”

It’s obviously far too early to freak out about one big away loss, especially when Lampard will probably have learned what several of us (and Jose Mourinho) thought when we saw his line-up: That’s a lot of young kids to start together at Old Trafford on Opening Day.

‘We need to make Old Trafford a fortress’ vows Maguire

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Harry Maguire‘s first home match at Old Trafford was tremendous, even if the center back didn’t nab a goal to top it off.

His teammates took care of that, with Marcus Rashford scoring twice to go with Anthony Martial and Daniel James tallies in a 4-0 demolition of Chelsea on Sunday.

[ MORE: Man Utd pummels Chelsea ]

Maguire and right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka made the right side of United’s defense a tough pill to swallow, and teamed up with David De Gea and the goal posts to keep up with a strong first half from Chelsea.

The second half was all United. From the BBC:

“It is the first game at Old Trafford so I think there were nerves. We gave the ball away in dangerous areas. We moved it nicely second half and our front three are so dangerous on the break.

“We knew there were only two clean sheets last year here. We need to make it a fortress. I felt good. I’ve only had three or four days with the lads. I am going to get fitter and better.”

It hardly gets easier for United, who will next Wolves at the Molineux on Aug. 19.

Three things learned: Man United v. Chelsea

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MANCHESTER — Manchester United eased to a 4-0 victory against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Saturday, but that didn’t tell the whole story.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Marcus Rashford scored in each half and Anthony Martial and Daniel James both scored in the second half, but Chelsea hit the woodwork twice in the first half and new manager Frank Lampard will be scratching his head after a proper thumping.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform on debut? ]

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s name reverberated around Old Trafford as this new-look United side dug deep, rode their luck and showed there may be good times ahead.

Here’s what we learned from Old Trafford.


UNITED’S NEW BOYS SETTLE IN QUICKLY

Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were both making their home debuts as Manchester United players and both had their name sung loud and proud by the Stretford End. They snapped into tackles, looked calm defensively and even though Chelsea caused United problems defensively, it was more so down to Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof being caught out of position or sloppy passes in midfield.

Daniel James then jumped off the bench to score on his Premier League debut to make it 4-0 as the Welsh winger proved he can be a real menace as an impact player. All three of United’s new boys made a positive impact on their debut and Solskjaer will hope that Maguire and AWB continue as they’ve started off. With those two in defense, they look a much better defensive unit.


CHELSEA’S DEFENDING WILL BE A WORRY

Kurt Zouma may well have been Man United’s best player on Sunday. That’s a tad harsh, but he gave away a penalty kick, looked all over the place positionally and the pace of Marcus Rashford was too much for him to handle. David Luiz has been sold, N’Golo Kante didn’t start due to injury and Antonio Rudiger is still out, so this Chelsea defensive unit will look a lot different when it is fully fit.

That said, the way Chelsea capitulated in the second half will be a worry for Lampard and even when Rudiger and Kante are fully fit, who starts at center back? On this showing neither Zouma or Christensen did themselves any favors.


BEST AND WORST OF POGBA ARRIVES

In the first half Paul Pogba‘s display summed up the vacuum present in United’s midfield. He and Scott McTominay couldn’t get on the ball and when they did, they lost it. Pogba’s second half was superb. He pinged over a pinpoint ball to Rashford to make it 3-0, then surged towards goal and slotted in Daniel James for the fourth.

We saw the best and worst of Pogba on Sunday and that is the main problem.

That is why fans are so divided when it comes to his worth at United and don’t forget, he could still move on to Juventus or Real Madrid later this summer when their transfer windows close. He was booed and cheered when his name was read out over the PA announcer. That sums up the feeling towards him right now. He is infuriatingly inconsistent.

Pogba played like he wanted to be at United, but only in the second half. If he can become more consistent, United can really challenge for a top four finish this season.

Manchester United pummels Chelsea behind Pogba playmaking

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Paul Pogba set up two goals and Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United clobbered Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Blues were the better team for the first hour aside from a conceded penalty, but the dam exploded in the second half.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

American winger Christian Pulisic came off the bench for Chelsea with an hour to play.

Both Daniel James and Anthony Martial also scored in the win.


Three things we learned

1. Paul Pogba looked a man inspired, chipping in at both ends and scooping up two assists. The first was an audacious, inch-perfect ball to lift the lid on the defense and the second came after leading a marauding counter attack and playing a scintillating little pass to James.

2. Both Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer want to give the kids a chance, even if the former didn’t give our American kid a start. Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira held places in United’s XI, and both Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham opened business for Chelsea.

Lampard, however, perhaps got a little too cute in handing the Abraham an opening day start at Old Trafford when he had Olivier Giroud‘s experience in the mix (albeit with the knowledge that Giroud doesn’t have a great record at United). Abraham was quick and industrious but perhaps a bit tipsy from the stage.

UPDATE: Jose Mourinho, speaking on Sky Sports, agrees.

“Alonso, Kante and Giroud were on the bench. To come to Old Trafford, even if it’s not the huge Manchester United team that used to scare people, it’s still Manchester United, it’s the first match at home, first match of the season, people are excited. A little bit of experience would fit well with the team. You look at the performance of Mount, Abraham and Christensen and I think for matches of this dimension you need a bit more.”

3. Top strikers — and we have no idea if Marcus Rashford will prove to be one — score even when they’re struggling, and Rashford won and converted a penalty despite looking out of place for the first 15 minutes of the match.

Man of the Match:  Aaron Wan-Bissaka


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Tammy Abraham hammered a shot off the post in the fifth minute, and it didn’t even appear to spin (and may have been heard to whimper).

At the other end, a poor giveaway allowed Anthony Martial a prime chance. The French hit a low drive to Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Mason Mount hit a hard shot that deflected off Harry Maguire but spun to David De Gea in the 12th.

Marcus Rashford had a poor first quarter-hour but his mistouch put Kurt Zouma off balance and the Chelsea man chopped him down for a penalty. Rashford roofed his effort for a 1-0 lead.

De Gea made a fine leg save on Ross Barkley as the match neared halftime, and Victor Lindelof blocked Jorginho‘s mediocre attempt to volley the rebound home. And Emerson smashed a shot off the top of the near post moments later.

Emerson forced De Gea into another fine save in the 56th minute.

Chelsea introduced Christian Pulisic around the hour mark, and the Blues had all of the ball but gave up a goal at the next United opportunity.

That came when Martial bodied up to meet Andreas Pereira’s cross at the center of the box.

Two minutes later, Rashford ran onto an inch-perfect long ball from Pogba and put his shot behind Arrizabalaga for 3-0.

Pogba then led a free kick counter attack down the left of the pitch before slipping a sensational pass through to James, whose shot turned off Emerson and past Arrizabalaga.