Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains unbeaten 10 games into his caretaker reign of Manchester United as the rejuvenated Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba combined to earn a 1-0 win at Leicester on Sunday to close in on the Premier League top four.
Rashford blasted home his sixth goal since Solskjaer took charge after taking an exquisite touch to control Pogba’s lofted pass and United held out to move above Arsenal into fifth and 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 and much of that form is owed to the turnaround in both Rashford and Pogba’s roles since Mourinho was sacked in December with United 11 points adrift of the top four.
Solskjaer again chose to leave Romelu Lukaku on the substitutes’ bench, with Rashford preferred as his centre-forward.
The England striker took just nine minutes to respond with the crucial goal, having already missed a good chance when he headed over when unmarked from Nemanja Matic’s cross.
Rashford’s confidence was clearly unaffected, as he took just four minutes to respond in style. Ricardo Pereira was the guilty party for Leicester with a dangerous ball that was intercepted by Pogba.
The Frenchman proceeded to display his deftness of his touch with a beautiful pass that was lofted over the Leicester backline for Rashford to run onto and he did the rest, taking a touch before drilling a low shot past a helpless Kasper Schmeichel.
“That pass by Paul Pogba is great and the control by Marcus better,” added Solskjaer.
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.
“Leicester got in a few dangerous positions, David de Gea made a few great saves and blocks,” said Solskjaer.
“We could have done better higher up the pitch in terms of defending but we deserved the three points I thought,” he added.
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.
Jonny Evans and Harry Maguire also failed to hit the target as the Foxes laid seige towards the United goal in search of an equaliser that never came to pile more pressure on the under-fire Puel.
His stock at Leicester remains on the slide but Solskjaer’s at Old Trafford continues to soar.