Manchester United left it late to secure a 1-0 win against Wolves at Old Trafford in a game that will not live long in the memory.
Manchester United dominated possession, though much of their play was done in front of Wolves’ organised backline, with the Black Country club proving to be the more threatening on the break, forcing David de Gea into a number of necessary saves before the interval.
The second half took on a very similar pattern, with Wolves ‘keeper Rui Patricio’s goal rarely threatened, with the Red Devils ultimately resorting to shots from distance in an attempt to break the deadlock.
However, with the game looking like once again ending as a drab goalless draw as it did last season, Manchester United continued their recent trend of scoring late goals to steal all three points.
Bruno Fernandes played it over the top for Marcus Rashford to chase, and just as it looked like the move would once again break down amid a lack of options in the middle, the England striker hit a left-footed shot which took a wicked deflection off Roman Saiss and into the back of the net to leave Patricio helpless.
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 29, 2020
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer was asked about his side’s growing propensity to score late goals just like United sides of old.
“It’s a point we brought up earlier in the season – we have to win more points later in games,” the Norwegian told Amazon Prime Video.
“Now I feel the players are mentally and physically more robust to be able to do it.
“A reason behind we’re not at our best was because we were playing against a good side. Maybe they tired more than us towards the end. Maybe the extra day’s recovery helped us.
“[We were a] bit lucky, bit flukey, but that’s what happens when you put teams under pressure.”
Most people are understandably looking forward to seeing the back of 2020 given the ongoing global pandemic, though Manchester United are only second to Liverpool in terms of points won in the calendar year, and Solskjaer insists it has been a ‘positive’ year for his side.
92:51 – Manchester United’s late goal through Marcus Rashford was their latest winning goal in a Premier League game at Old Trafford since September 2009, when Michael Owen scored after coming off the bench against Manchester City (95:27). Saviour. pic.twitter.com/L9Fkis8KGd
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 29, 2020
“The year has been positive in terms of results,” he added. “It’s a group that are now physically and mentally ready to go up the table.”
The win moves Manchester United up to second in the league, just two points behind the reigning champions, with the Red Devils hosting in-form Aston Villa on New Years Day.