Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed forwards Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial after both scored against Crystal Palace on Thursday to keep the club firmly in contention for a top four finish.
United missed an opportunity to go third earlier in the week when they were pegged back by Southampton, but the players responded to that setback by claiming all three points at Selhurst Park. Only goal difference keeps them below fourth place Leicester with two games remaining.
The form of Rashford and Martial, as well as Bruno Fernandes, has come to define the second half of the season for United. Both forwards are enjoying their most prolific seasons to date and each pushed their respective tallies to 22 in all competitions. Fernandes also had a role in both goals.
What’s more, the quality of each strike was outstanding, showcasing the talent that courses through this United squad if they can consistently perform.
“The goals with Marcus and Anthony were just a joy to watch,” Solskjaer said as he addressed the media following the final whistle – via ManUtd.com.
“The goals were great and we know they can do that at any moment. It’s exciting to watch, it’s exciting to coach, it’s exciting to see them want to be better, want to improve - so it’s great.
“We’ve created chances, scored more goals. We last [for 90 minutes], so you can see towards the end we’re fitter and stronger. The last 20 or 25 minutes were the best ones for us – before then it took some time to get going, but I’m very happy.”
The game was not without an element of controversy. Jordan Ayew saw what would have been a Palace equaliser to make it 1-1 disallowed when he was adjudged to have been fractionally offside following a VAR review. Palace also felt they should have had a penalty when Wilfried Zaha went down under a challenge from Victor Lindelof while it was still 0-0.
On-field referee Graham Scott was un-moved and there was no VAR intervention because Lindelof was deemed to have got a touch on the ball before Zaha hit the deck. That even prompted Palace chairman Steve Parish to sarcastically ask on Twitter if VAR was ‘broken’.
“For once we can say they worked,” Solskjaer reflected.
“If you’re offside an inch, you’re offside. We’re lucky there. For me, Victor takes the ball [for the penalty call, on Wilfried Zaha] so we’re fine.”