Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's pre-match Leeds United concerns put to rest

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted his pre-match concerns over Leeds United's fitness levels were unfounded as his side hammered the Whites 5-1.

Saturday, 14th August 2021, 3:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th August 2021, 3:32 pm
FITNESS CONCERN - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was worried that Manchester United might not cope with Leeds United's intensity before their 5-1 win at Old Trafford. Pic: Getty

Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba combined to take the game away from the visitors in the second half, after Luke Ayling had cancelled out Fernandes' opener.

The Portuguese helped himself to a hat-trick and Pogba ended the game with four assists, Mason Greenwood and Fred scoring the others in a rout that was reminiscent of last season's 6-2 Old Trafford loss.

"It's been a very good day," said Solskjaer.

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"Paul's got that vision, that quality and I knew the headlines would be about him and Bruno but this is a team effort. The space Mason creates for Bruno, what everyone does ahead of the goals has been worked on this week. Paul, I'm very impressed with his fitness levels as well. He looks fit, ready to go, enjoying his football. I love seeing all these boys smiling when they're playing football."

Solskjaer was delighted to see his team handle Leeds' intensity, the high press and man-to-man marking system failing to significantly disrupt Manchester United.

"I knew [my players] were going to work hard but fitness levels I wasn't 100 per cent sure on," he said.

"Leeds are the fittest team, the most highest intensity team but the way we coped with that and put the foundation for the performance, that was important."

The game was watched by a 72,000-strong crowd, with 3,000 packing the Leeds end to create the kind of atmosphere the sport has been missing since the pandemic hit.

"The last 18 months have been strange," said the Red Devils boss.

"The only interaction has been through media, you've watched the games through tele, you haven't had that feeling, that connection. Being reunited with the fans is important. This is how I sold Manchester United to Edinson [Cavani], you can't leave after playing one season without fans."