‘Improving’ Rashford the match winner for Solskjaer’s surging Man Utd

LEICESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer paid tribute to Marcus Rashford’s improved finishing after the England striker scored his sixth goal in 10 games since the Norwegian took charge to beat Leicester 1-0 on Sunday night.

Rashford blasted home after taking an exquisite touch to control Paul Pogba’s lofted pass just nine minutes in at the King Power and United held out to move within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea.

A 2-2 draw at home to Burnley in midweek is the only match Solskjaer has failed to win in caretaker charge and much of that form is owed to the turnaround in both Rashford and Pogba’s roles since Jose Mourinho was sacked in December last year with United 11 points adrift of the top four.

“It was a great finish,” said Solskjaer. “Against a Schmeichel (Leicester goalkeeper Kasper) you would think you might want to try through his legs but it was a great finish and the kid is improving and improving.

“Good players make each other better, don’t they, and I can only explain goals like this with quality.

Leicester’s Nampalys Mendy (R), Wilfried Ndidi (L) battle for the ball against Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera during the match at King Power Stadium
Marcus Rashford celebrates his goal against Leicester City. – PHOTOS: AFP

“It was a fantastic pass by Paul and a great finish and we could have had one earlier with Marcus.”

Leicester have now conceded in the first 11 minutes in each of their last five games.

“It’s crazy. At the start we don’t believe enough in our quality,” said under-fire Leicester boss Claude Puel. “Afterwards we play with intent and we can hurt teams like United.

“It’s a big disappointment because we found good quality in the second-half with a lot of chances to come back.”

However, as is often the case on the road, United relied on goalkeeper David de Gea for all three points as a Leicester side that have often troubled the top six this season improved after half-time.

Twice the Spaniard stood tall to deny Jamie Vardy, but De Gea’s best save came from Rachid Ghezzal’s free-kick that arrowed towards the top corner.

“David’s a fantastic goalkeeper and today he’s made at least two top saves,” added Solskjaer.

“It’s the first (clean sheet) in a while. We’ve had three games in a row where we’ve conceded after a couple of clean sheets. But that’s very important for us because when you’ve got players like Rashford, Pogba, (Anthony) Martial, (Alexis) Sanchez and the quick ones up top you’ve got a great chance of winning the game.

“And that’s the foundation with a proper, solid defensive performance and the keeper with two fantastic saves as well, so he’s kept us in it.”

A Ghezzal goal would have been rich vindication for Puel who was met with chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” from his own fans for replacing James Maddison with the Algerian just after the hour mark.

“We have a squad not just a team. Rachid brought out a good chance – I have no regrets about this,” said Puel.

His stock at Leicester remains on the slide but Solskjaer’s at Old Trafford continues to soar.