MANCHESTER UNITED’S win over Brighton kept Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on track to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Despite United’s excellent form, it was another “must win” match for Solskjaer’s side.
The Red Devils needed to pick up three points because of recent results for Chelsea and Wolves – who are just two of the other teams who are looking to play top level European football next campaign.
Solskjaer mentioned earlier in the week that he wouldn’t hesitate to bring in a striker during the next transfer window, if Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood allowed their standards to slip over the remaining weeks of the season.
And last night it was the turn of Greenwood out of the trio to really impress, scoring one and assisting another.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Solskjaer to leave the Bradford born forward out of his starting XI.
Greenwood has 13 goals for United already, which is one more than Rashford had scored before he turned 19.
Whilst he was clinical for his goal, just as pleasing for Solskjaer will have been the composure he showed to cross for Bruno Fernandes’ volley, something that has been lacking from Dan James’ play since the turn of the year.
The star man again though, was Fernandes, another of Solskjaer’s signings, that has really made the difference.
The forward scored two more goals against Brighton, and has re-ignited the club since his arrival in January.
In total, he’s actually been involved in ten goals, scoring six and assisting four.
His combination of skill, work rate and leadership has been priceless and if he and United can maintain this form, then there’s no reason why they can’t qualify for the Champions League next season.
Solskjaer must also take credit for his rejuvenated United.
Before Christmas and then with Mauricio Pochettino lost his job at Tottenham Hotspur, it looked like the inevitable might happen this summer, and that he would be replaced by the Argentinian.
But the signs are there for all to see.
The culture appears to have changed, the players look happy playing for the manager and the style of play, a problem under previous managers David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, has vastly improved.
The question now, is how far can the Norwegian take them?
Phase one could be completed over the coming weeks via qualification for the Champions League which would not only confirm that Solskjaer and his team are on the right track, but give them confidence to build and improve next campaign.
Overall, it’s been a topsy-turvy season for Solskjaer.
But, he can emerge with a degree of success, and build on some excellent foundations if he can finish the job off in the coming weeks and secure Champions League football for next season.