Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the mentality of his team after their come-from-behind 3-1 victory away to West Ham in the Premier League.
United overturned a half-time deficit to beat West Ham thanks to goals from Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford in London on Saturday.
Just like they did against Southampton last week, United were forced to rally after Tomas Soucek’s 38th-minute opener – Bruno Fernandes coming off the bench to inspire the fightback.
Pogba’s delightful but controversial 25-yard equaliser – the ball appeared to go out of play in the build-up – set the stage in the 65th minute and Greenwood put United ahead three minutes later before substitute Rashford made sure of the points 12 minutes from the end.
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United have now won their first five away games in a league campaign for the first time since 1985-86, and Solskjaer applauded the belief of the Red Devils, who moved within three points of top spot.
“We were playing against a very good side; they’ve drawn against Tottenham, they’ve drawn against [Manchester] City, they should have got points against Liverpool, they beat Wolves, they beat Leicester,” said Solskjaer, whose United have now won more points from losing positions than any other team in Premier League history (385).
“They’re a very good team. They made it difficult for us because they’ve got the X factor, they’ve got the quality in the big moments of the game. Set-plays, counter-attacks.
“We had the ball, I’m sure we had about 65 per cent possession in the first half but we couldn’t control their big moment. When we got the goals and got on the front foot, we looked like ourselves. We’ve done this too many times now, coming back from 1-0 down for it to be a coincidence.
“To have this character in the team, this belief. The mentality is one of the big things that I take away from these away games. They always believe in themselves, we trust ourselves. There’s no shouting and screaming. We believe in our team-mates and we believe in ourselves.”
Fernandes replaced Donny van de Beek at half-time and transformed United in the second half as he teed up Pogba – the Portuguese star created eight chances, the most by a player in a single Premier League match with a maximum of 45 minutes played since Jason Koumas in 2008.
36 – Since his debut in February, Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in 36 goals in 38 games in all competitions for Man Utd (22 goals, 14 assists) – five more than any other Premier League player in this period. Influential. pic.twitter.com/mSRpJbd0fn
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 5, 2020
Since debuting in February following his arrival from Sporting CP, Fernandes has been directly involved in 36 goals in 38 matches across all competitions (22 goals and 14 assists) – five more than any other Premier League player during that period.
“I think this season is going to be such a long and hard one. When players have a niggly injuries, he’s been kicked so many times in the last few weeks, he had a sore foot so I didn’t want to use him from the start,” Solskjaer said of Fernandes.
“We’ve got a big game of Tuesday, we’ve got a big squad with loads of quality and talent so we decided to go with the starting line-up that we did.”
Solskjaer also provided an update on Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial, who were forced off the field due to injuries, ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash at RB Leipzig.
“Hopefully [they’re] not too bad but they couldn’t carry on,” Solskjaer, who also rested goalkeeper David de Gea, told Sky Sports.
“They’re not bad ones hopefully. We’ll do scans on them and hopefully they’ll be available soon.
“There’s a game already on Tuesday. It’ll probably be [like this] this year. Some games we have to do without players and I’m glad we’ve got the substitutions we have.”