While a match has a pulse, Solskjær's Manchester United will still believe

Asia's Tech News Daily

It was the moment that ignited Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s reputation, not just as a Manchester United supersub but as the provider of dramatic, late goals that made a difference. It was January 1999, Old Trafford was in a frenzy after Dwight Yorke’s 88th-minute equaliser against Liverpool in an FA Cup fourth-round tie and the board had gone up for stoppage time.

Solskjær, on as an 81st-minute replacement for Gary Neville, saw Paul Scholes reach a flick ahead of Jamie Carragher and nudge the ball towards him. The Norwegian was on the right side of the area, level with the penalty spot and he looked like the calmest person in the stadium, taking two touches to create the space and angle before firing low past David James to win it.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

It was Solskjær’s third season as a United player and he had come off the bench to score before – six times, to be precise – notably on his August 1996 debut against Blackburn, when he got a 70th-minute equaliser. There was also an 86th-minute equaliser in September 1997 against Chelsea.

But this was on the next level – the decisive contribution in the classic game of English football and at the very death. Two weeks later Solskjær would score four times as a substitute in the closing stages of the 8-1 win at Nottingham Forest and, on the final day of that famous season came his most famous act – the last-gasp winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, having again come off the bench in the 81st minute. Of Solskjær’s 126 goals in United’s colours, 29 were as a substitute.

The Liverpool and Bayern winners changed Solskjær, driving a belief in him that there was always opportunity until the referee blew the final whistle, no matter what the flow of the game. With the right levels of composure, they could be taken; narratives turned upside down.

These are wild and edgy times for the United manager. The Premier League table does not look too bad for him and it would be pretty good if he could plot a way past Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. But maybe it is because everyone knows that it could have been so much worse. Take away crucial David de Gea saves in the draw at Southampton and the wins at Wolves and West Ham and United could be down a fistful of points. They also rode their luck in the home draw with Everton earlier this month.

Solskjær’s conviction remains unwavering. It will be all right in the end, he tells himself and his players – most recently in Wednesday night’s Champions League match at home to Atalanta. Solskjær said he felt United had played well in the first half, despite going into the break at 2-0 down.

Two chances given up, two concessions, one from a set piece. And you should not be conceding from them (United have let in four in four matches following corners and indirect free-kicks). That was the gist of Solskjær’s analysis and it rather skated over how his team had been overloaded in central midfield and wide defensive areas. And disjointed in the final third. Never mind. If United scored next, Solskjær said, “we win the game … as long as we don’t concede”.

While a match has a pulse, Solskjær’s Manchester United will still believe
© Provided by The Guardian Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United have shown a connection to the Fergie-time heroics of the club’s past. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images

In the BT Sport studio, Scholes said that despite it all, despite his numerous misgivings, it would not surprise him if United came back to win. This is what Solskjær’s United have – a connection to the spirit of the past, to Fergie-time heroics; the capacity to violently jolt a game from its rhythm with one spell, one action.

United came back to win 3-2, Cristiano Ronaldo heading the winner in the 81st minute and everyone connected to the club loved it. Actually, maybe not Scholes, who continued to brood. Solskjær has won 90 matches in all competitions during his near three-year tenure and 16 have been thanks to goals in the last 10 minutes – with the vast majority coming right at the end. Where would Solskjær be without the late shows?

In one sense, it is the essence of United; the swashbuckling, the entertainment. There is no doubt that comeback wins, particularly those driven by late goals, are more special. And what is football if not to provide enjoyment, escapism? There was not too much of that at United under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho. Savour the good times. Live for the moment.

It is the manager’s curse that when the team wins, it is because of the players and when they lose, it is on him. Solskjær has plenty of outstanding individuals but he has to enjoy a measure of credit for when he provides the platform for them to express themselves. Bruno Fernandes against Atalanta was a good example. The playmaker missed so many passes in the first half but he knew he had the backing to continue to take risks, to seek the moves that could turn the tide if they came off. This comes from Solskjær. It was Fernandes’s wonderful assist for Marcus Rashford that sparked the fightback. The Portuguese picked up a knock and is a doubt for Liverpool.

United diehards are conflicted. They have a manager that they love, against whom they will not turn and who provides a promise of glory in the style that they seek. Liverpool are in freewheeling form and yet those United fans know that their team can carry the fight to them – if every player does his job. Maybe it is the hope that kills them.

Equally, the worry is that the glorious madness of the Solskjær era is not the basis for a consistent title push; that giving the opposition a head start or room to play is untenable. United have been too loose at the back for too long – they have kept one clean sheet in 20 attempts, with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw not yet firing this season.

What supporters would give for a bit of control in games, a little comfort. It has been too erratic, with it being anyone’s guess which United will turn up. In possession against the deeper-sitting teams, they remain prone to running into brick walls; their patterns too predictable. Solskjær has had long enough to instil a discernible identity and many people remain unsure what that looks like. Or, if they do know, it is not what they want to see.

Solskjær was asked on Friday whether a repeat of the first-half performance from the Atalanta game would leave scope for a comeback against Liverpool. A pause. “Erm,” he said. A smile. And then a sidestep of the question. In other words, no. While a match has a pulse, Solsjkær and his players will believe.

“Late goals and comebacks are in our DNA,” he said. “It’s never give in – [the title of] Sir Alex’s documentary. We needed half-time against Atalanta to maybe push that belief a little more and hopefully it’s the end of a bad period for us. Teams always go through bad spells [United had lost four of seven before Wednesday] and good teams come together. If Atalanta was the start of something big – that’s what we hope.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Blake's saves carry Union to brink of MLS Cup championship

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Andre Blake shook his head at the photo that captured the Jamaican goalie carried off the pitch on the shoulders of his Philadelphia Union teammates. Blake ... Read more »

Asian shares mostly higher after broad rally on Wall Street

1 / 5Hong Kong Financial MarketsA woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in Hong Kong, Friday, Nov. 3, 2021. ... Read more »

OL: Domenech allume les joueurs qui ne suivent Bosz que dans "les matchs importants"

© ICON Sport Peter Bosz (OL) qui donne ses consignes Lyon se déplace à Bordeaux, dimanche (20h45, 17e journée de Ligue 1) dans un match à des années-lumière du quart ... Read more »

Dries Mertens prolongera-t-il au Napoli ? "Le club ne veut plus payer cette somme"

Dries Mertens arrive en fin de contrat au terme de cette saison et dispose d’une clause qui lui permet de prolonger automatiquement aux mêmes termes qu’actuellement. Mais le club pourrait ... Read more »

Dembélé, Laporta confirme la position du Barça

© Fournis par Sports.fr Ousmane Dembélé a ouvert la marque d’une superbe frappe.. Ayant entamé sa dernière année de contrat avec le Barça, le champion du monde français n’a toujours ... Read more »

Tottenham v Brentford player ratings: Son 8, Kane 8; Canos 5, Toney 4

© Clive Rose LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur reacts during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December ... Read more »

Reema Juffali 'honoured' after being named ambassador for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

© Provided by The National Reema Juffali has been named as a race ambassador for the inaugural Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Photo: Saudi Arabian GP Saudi Arabia’s first ... Read more »

Hero footy boss saved player's life after heart attack

Quick-thinking heroics from Wigan’s manager and team doctor saved the life of striker Charlie Wyke. The 28-year-old collapsed after suffering a heart attack during a training session on Monday, November ... Read more »

Fernandes' Carrick embrace, Ronaldo's commitment and other moments missed in Manchester United win

Manchester United won their first Premier League since late October against Arsenal on Thursday night. Ralf Rangnick was officially appointed as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interim successor earlier this week, but ... Read more »

Diogo Dalot and Jadon Sancho have given Ralf Rangnick new options after Manchester United win vs Arsenal

Sancho makes his mark from the left For 43 minutes Jadon Sancho had struggled to get into the game on the left, finding life tricky in a role that doesn’t ... Read more »

Verstappen houdt zijn hoofd leeg: 'Stopt onnodige gedachten in je hoofd'

© Aangeboden door GPblog NL Max Verstappen blijft onder grote druk erg rustig in zijn eerste titelgevecht in de Formule 1. Bij de Weekend Warm-Up legt hij aan Will Buxton ... Read more »

Pope meets Cyprus' Orthodox leader to strengthen ties

The Associated PressPresident of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Pope Francis review the honor guard at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Pope Francis arrived in Cyprus ... Read more »

Can the Bulls forwards secure enough ball for Morné Steyn against Bok-laden Sharks pack?

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Cape Town – Can the Bulls forwards secure enough ball for Morne Steyn to dictate terms against the Springbokladen Sharks pack? That is arguably ... Read more »

Kaizer Chiefs lodge URGENT appeal to PSL after Covid-19 crisis

© Provided by The South African Kaizer Chiefs have lodged an URGENT appeal to the PSL after Covid-19 wreaked havoc in the Amakhosi training camp. READ | ORLANDO PIRATES CAF ... Read more »

'Stay classy' - Leeds fans make same point after Arsenal goal vs Manchester United

Leeds United fans have weighed in and defended bitter rivals Manchester United after Arsenal scored amid VAR controversy at Old Trafford. England international Emile Smith Rowe made it advantage Arsenal ... Read more »

How Edinburgh City position change landed John Robertson League Two monthly award

The Edinburgh City youngster yesterday scooped the award having found the net three times last month, a brace in the Citizens’ 3-1 win over Stranraer as well as scoring the ... Read more »

'Celtic, Rangers and officials against the rest': Hearts fans react to controversial defeat at Celtic Park

This is what the Hearts fans had to say about the match on social media… © Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is booked by referee Bobby Madden for taking his protestations ... Read more »

Nate Diaz says UFC wants him to fight ‘rookie' Khamzat Chimaev: ‘Don't disrespect me like that'

Nate Diaz is not interested in fighting Khamzat Chimaev. Diaz (20-13 MMA, 15-11 UFC), a former UFC title challenger and one of the most popular names on the roster, claims ... Read more »

Misha Cirkunov vs. Makhmud Muradov lined up for UFC's Feb. 26 event

The UFC’s 2022 cards continue to grow with the addition of a middleweight bout in February. Misha Cirkunov (15-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) is set to take on Makhmud Muradov (25-7 ... Read more »

Khamzat Chimaev responds to ‘fake gangster' Nate Diaz: ‘You are the easiest money for me'

Regardless of how Nate Diaz puts it, Khamzat Chimaev continues to tout him as an easy challenge. Thursday, hours after Diaz (20-13 MMA, 18-12 UFC) said he was insulted the ... Read more »

Transfer update involving Portsmouth and Millwall comes to light

© Provided by Football League World Championship – Millwall v Birmingham City Millwall are said to not possess a recall clause as part of the loan agreement which took Mahlon ... Read more »

Four ways Max Verstappen can beat Lewis Hamilton to F1 title at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

© GETTY Four ways Max Verstappen can beat Lewis Hamilton to F1 title at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix The 2021 Formula One Drivers’ Championship could well be decided this weekend ... Read more »

MLB players spend 1st day of lockout mocking league's scrubbing of their images

MLB is officially in its first work stoppage since 1995, and the first tangible effect of that was an eerie scene on the league's home page. As the clock struck ... Read more »

Hulk (35) zorgt voor eerste landskampioenschap in vijftig jaar

© Aangeboden door Voetbalzone Atlético Mineiro heeft zich in de nacht van donderdag op vrijdag voor het eerst sinds 1971 weer tot kampioen van Brazilië gekroond. Galo won met 2-3 ... Read more »

Formule 1. GP d'Arabie saoudite : à quelle heure et sur quelle chaîne regarder les essais libres ?

© KARIM JAAFAR / AFP Max Verstappen a une première balle de match ce week-end à Djeddah. L’avant dernier Grand Prix de Formule 1 de la saison se dispute ce ... Read more »

North London mum whose son 'died in 2 minutes' after being stabbed is 'in the process' of forgiving son's killer

It is approaching 12 years since Godwin Lawson, a promising young footballer from North London who’d just been accepted to play for Oxford United, was tragically stabbed to death in ... Read more »

Chargers' Wooden hopes road leads to general manager spot

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — JoJo Wooden thought after he was one of the final cuts by the Arizona Cardinals during training camp in 1993 that his best avenue to ... Read more »

Steelers get local hero in new 2022 NFL mock draft

When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted former Pitt star running back James Conner back in 2017, Steelers fans cheered. Not just because Conner is a talented back or because his comeback ... Read more »

Hill's promising start for Saints flames out late vs Cowboys

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The jolt Taysom Hill provided for the injury-riddled, reeling New Orleans Saints against Dallas on Thursday night dissolved in a slew of turnovers. Starting at quarterback ... Read more »

Steelers Wire Podcast: Talking about the failure vs the Bengals and what's left of the season

Welcome back to the latest episode of the Steelers Wire Podcast. © Provided by Steelers Wire This week’s episode is once again hosted by Ryan O’Leary (@RyanOLearySMG on Twitter) and ... Read more »

Former Jags CB Jalen Ramsey says he's 'grateful' for his time and experience in Jacksonville

One of the biggest storylines surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Week 13 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams will involve cornerback Jalen Ramsey playing the team that drafted him for the ... Read more »

New LSU coach Brian Kelly speaks with Southern accent during speech

Brian Kelly has been an LSU Tiger for just a few days, and in that time span, it didn’t take him long to develop a Southern accent. © Stephen Lew-USA ... Read more »

Vikings WR Adam Thielen, WR Justin Jefferson among the most reliable pass catchers in the NFL

Vikings WR Adam Thielen was expected to drop off in terms of his touchdown total this year. How could he replicate a 14-touchdown performance from 2020? © Provided by Vikings ... Read more »

Ben Stokes scores 42 in valuable batting practice during Ashes warm-up match

Ben Stokes backed up from claiming two wickets on the second day of England’s final warm-up match ahead of the Ashes to score 42 runs from 56 balls against England ... Read more »

Auckland reopens as New Zealand tries new virus approach

1 / 4Virus Outbreak New ZealandA courier delivers goods to a store in central Auckland, New Zealand, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. The lockdown of New Zealand’s largest city Auckland, for ... Read more »

Erwin Vervecken verwacht dat Van der Poel er direct staat: 'Hij is de meest complete crosser van allemaal'

© Tim Beck Erwin Vervecken verwacht dat Van der Poel er direct staat: ‘Hij is de meest complete crosser van allemaal’ De rentree van Tom Pidcock, Wout van Aert en ... Read more »

Orlando Pirates through to the group stage of the Confederation Cup after Oilers withdraw

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates are through to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup after their play-offs opponents LPRC Oilers withdrew from the ... Read more »

Wakefield's Adebiyi flying flag for Nigeria RL

Among the diverse array of nationalities which will be represented in Super League in 2022, there will be at least one player flying the flag for Nigeria. Although raised mostly ... Read more »

Knicks' Julius Randle on heated exchange with Evan Fournier: 'I think that was very clear communication between us'

Julius Randle mean mugging slight flex white uniform The Knicks are down 18 to the Bulls at the end of the second quarter. Everyone’s frustrated. As players and coaches head ... Read more »

Knicks vs Bulls: Julius Randle on Evan Fournier, loss to Bulls, officiating | Knicks Post Game

In this Knicks vs Bulls post game news conference, Julius Randle explains what happened between him and Evan Founier heading into halftime, his frustrations yet again with the officiating, and ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic