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Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion

Solskjaer: Man Utd can't always play fantasy football but Rashford looks special

19:58 SAST 2019/01/19
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 2018-19
The Red Devils boss saw his side to a seventh successive victory as they edged out Brighton, with an England international forward starring again

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a record-setting seven successive victories in charge of Manchester United but is eager to point out that his side “can’t always play fantasy football”.

A hero in United's 1999 treble winning side as a player, Solskjaer has earned plenty of plaudits for the impact he has made since succeeding Jose Mourinho as interim manager at Old Trafford.

He is yet to come unstuck and has seen his side plunder 19 goals, while conceding just four.

Another three points were collected on home soil against Brighton on Saturday, with rejuvenated duo Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford getting the goals in a 2-1 win.

United were made to “dig deep” for another success, though, and Solskjaer was quick to hail their battling qualities afterwards, telling BBC Sport: “Sometimes you make it hard work.

“I thought we played some great stuff at times. At the start of the second half we could have finished the game with great chances. But in any game of football you are never sure until it's over. Last 20 minutes we were in trouble.

“They do dig deep. The boys showed against Tottenham and today that we don't give up and there's a great team spirit.

“You can't always play fantasy football. At times we did and it's a great three points.”

Rashford proved to be the match-winner for United once again, having helped to edge them past Tottenham last time out.

His fine finish three minutes before half-time double his side's lead following Pogba’s opener from the penalty spot.

Solskjaer is delighted to see the man he has moved into a central striking role since inheriting the reins showcasing his undoubted quality on a regular basis.

He said of a player who has now hit a personal best Premier League goal return of eight in 2018-19: “What a finish from Marcus Rashford. The way he finished it off. It is great working with him.

“That was his 150th game, I think he has scored more than a couple of the legends we have so he has a great future ahead of him.

“What I like the most is to get into their heads and find out what they are thinking.

“He is so calm and assured when he is finishing. That was the first thing I said to him when I met him. He had missed some chances and I said 'no problem, you'll be alright, just settle down a little bit'.”

As key men flourish in a side which has rediscovered its spark under Solskjaer, the man at the helm admits he could not have wished for a better homecoming at a club he represented with such distinction in his playing days.

“Today we were tested. I didn't think we played the game out as we should have. That's perhaps the next challenge for the boys,” added the Norwegian.

“The last month has been fantastic. It's one of those things. It is real now. To be fair, it does feel like coming home. I do feel at home and I really enjoy it.”