Paul Pogba scored twice as Manchester United made it back-to-back wins under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a stylish victory over the Premier League’s bottom side Huddersfield.
Former United striker Solskjaer was appointed last week after the sacking of Jose Mourinho and he followed up the 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff with another win in his first game in charge at Old Trafford.
Nemanja Matic scored the opener, poking in from close range after Victor Lindelof’s header was saved by Jonas Lossl with the Huddersfield goalkeeper also keeping out efforts from Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
The impressive Pogba added two more for the hosts in the second half, sweeping in a first-time shot from the edge of the box and rocketing another from 30 yards out to settle the contest.
Huddersfield, who slipped to 20th position after seeing Fulham claim a point against Wolves earlier in the day, had plenty of chances of their own but their goal came too late, as Mathias Jorgensen swept home a consolation late on.
- Pogba is happy now, says Solskjaer
- Relive Manchester United’s win over Huddersfield
- Check out all of Wednesday’s other Premier League action
Feel-good factor returns
What a difference a week makes.
The change of mood for both Manchester United players and supporters since club legend Solskjaer took charge of the Red Devils last Wednesday has been quite remarkable.
Playing stodgy football without any real plan or direction under Mourinho, and having run-ins with a number of players, Solskjaer has already lifted the gloom by putting smiles back on faces with a free-flowing approach that has liberated the players.
The Norwegian said in his programme notes that “this club is built on entertainment and excitement” and United have scored eight goals in their last two games, showing movement and attacking flair that has been evidently missing under the past three managers Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and David Moyes.
France World Cup winner Pogba has been restored to the starting line-up after falling out-of-favour under Mourinho and has repaid the faith shown by his former youth team manager Solskjaer with another highly impressive performance.
Man of the match against Cardiff, the 25-year-old ran the show once more against Huddersfield with more touches on the ball (117), more passes (90) and more shots (5) than any other player on the pitch.
His two goals were well-taken, while England international Rashford was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with his constant threat in the final third and saw two shots saved by Lossl, though both were comfortable for the Huddersfield goalkeeper.
Having spoken about the traditions of the club and the ‘United Way’, Solskjaer brought on 18-year-old Angel Gomes with 10 minutes remaining for only his second first-team appearance and he almost scored, but curled his strike straight at Lossl.
Solskjaer was on his way to a perfect start but still has plenty of work to do with his defenders as Jorgensen’s late strike meant the side have kept just two clean sheets in 19 leagues games this season.
Three important games for the Terriers
Huddersfield have big problems.
The West Yorkshire side have won just twice all season, lost their last six games to slip to the foot of the table and are five points adrift of safety.
Though they did manage to net against United, it was too little, too late and they have scored just 12 goals at the halfway stage of the campaign.
The Terriers worked United’s stand-in skipper De Gea into just one save throughout the 90 minutes, with the Spaniard springing high to his right to keep out Depoitre’s flicked shot towards the top corner.
They should have led but Terence Kongolo hooked a shot over the crossbar from close range, while Philip Billing and Elias Kachunga were unable to work the goalkeeper from promising positions.
Huddersfield are already punching above their weight by staying in the top-flight last season and face a crucial period with three games against teams directly above them in their fight against relegation, travelling to Fulham and Cardiff and at home to Burnley.
Man of the match – Paul Pogba (Man Utd)
Manchester United host Bournemouth on Sunday (kick-off 16:30 GMT), while Huddersfield travel to Fulham on Saturday (15:00).
Solskjaer’s super start – the stats
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is just the fifth Manchester United manager to win both of his first two league matches in charge, after TJ Wallworth, Matt Busby, Dave Sexton and Jose Mourinho.
- Huddersfield Town have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 15 away games against Manchester United in the league (45 goals conceded).
- Manchester United have not lost a home league game on Boxing Day since 1978-79 (3-0 v Liverpool), winning 15 and drawing three since.
- Huddersfield are only the fourth team in Premier League history to lose six matches in one calendar month – Norwich (April 1995), Wimbledon (April 2000), Leicester (April 2001) being the others.
- United’s Jesse Lingard has been directly involved in six goals in his last five appearances in the Premier League (4 goals, 2 assists).
- United midfielder Paul Pogba scored two goals in a Premier League for the first time since netting twice against Manchester City in April at the Etihad.
- Pogba has been directly involved in four goals in two Premier League games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (2 goals, 2 assists), the same total he had registered in his last 12 games under Mourinho (1 goal, 3 assists).
- Nemanja Matic scored his first Premier League goal for United in 23 appearances, since netting against Crystal Palace in March. It was his first in the competition at Old Trafford for the club.
- 1De Gea
- 20DalotSubstituted forYoungat 53′minutes
- 17FredBooked at 30minsSubstituted forHerreraat 53′minutes
- 8MataSubstituted forGomesat 81′minutes
- 25M Jorgensen
- 9KachungaBooked at 23minsSubstituted forLöweat 57′minutes
- 18MbenzaSubstituted forQuanerat 62′minutes
- 20DepoitreSubstituted forMounieat 73′minutes
- Jonathan Moss
- Shots on Target
Match ends, Manchester United 3, Huddersfield Town 1.
Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Huddersfield Town 1.
Attempt missed. Alex Pritchard (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Steve Mounie.
Attempt saved. Angel Gomes (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul Pogba.
Goal! Manchester United 3, Huddersfield Town 1. Zanka (Huddersfield Town) left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Steve Mounie with a headed pass following a set piece situation.
Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).
Terence Kongolo (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Philip Billing (Huddersfield Town) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Foul by Luke Shaw (Manchester United).
Florent Hadergjonaj (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Manchester United. Angel Gomes replaces Juan Mata.
Goal! Manchester United 3, Huddersfield Town 0. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jesse Lingard.
Offside, Manchester United. Paul Pogba tries a through ball, but Jesse Lingard is caught offside.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Chris Löwe.
Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Chris Löwe (Huddersfield Town).
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Steve Mounie replaces Laurent Depoitre.
Hand ball by Ashley Young (Manchester United).
Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Terence Kongolo (Huddersfield Town).
Foul by Nemanja Matic (Manchester United).
Alex Pritchard (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Luke Shaw (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.
Offside, Huddersfield Town. Chris Löwe tries a through ball, but Collin Quaner is caught offside.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Luke Shaw (Manchester United) because of an injury.
Goal! Manchester United 2, Huddersfield Town 0. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ander Herrera.
Offside, Huddersfield Town. Florent Hadergjonaj tries a through ball, but Alex Pritchard is caught offside.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Collin Quaner replaces Isaac Mbenza.
Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by Luke Shaw.
Attempt saved. Laurent Depoitre (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Alex Pritchard.
Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by Phil Jones.
Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Philip Billing (Huddersfield Town).
Attempt blocked. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nemanja Matic.
Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).
Christopher Schindler (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Chris Löwe replaces Elias Kachunga.
Luke Shaw (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Isaac Mbenza (Huddersfield Town).