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Cardiff 1-5 Manchester United: Reds rampant in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first game

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got off to a perfect start as Manchester United's interim manager with a 5-1 thrashing of his former club Cardiff.

The former United striker succeeded Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in midweek, and got his first win courtesy of a performance that will encourage United fans as some of their more marginalised talent came to the fore in a performance full of attacking intent.

Marcus Rashford's stunning free-kick, a deflected effort from Ander Herrera and a fabulous team goal by Anthony Martial effectively won the contest before half-time for a United side inspired by the recalled Paul Pogba, who had a hand in all three first-half goals.

Victor Camarasa's penalty briefly gave Cardiff hope as they reduced the arrears to 2-1, but Jesse Lingard won and scored a contentious second-half penalty and then rounded Neil Etheridge to tap into an empty net at the death to make the result safe.

It is the first time United have scored five goals in a Premier League game since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson's last game in charge - a 5-5 draw with West Brom in May 2013.

All eyes were on Solskjaer's first selection as United boss, and Pogba was included in the starting line-up.

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The World Cup winner and club record signing had been a forlorn-looking substitute for the past three Premier League matches, but returned to a more attack-minded United XI.

Pogba was joined by French forward Martial, who made his 100th Premier League appearance, with Romelu Lukaku away on compassionate leave.

Luke Shaw and Phil Jones returned to a defence that had conceded 29 goals already this term - their worst record since 1962 - as Solskjaer made four changes.

Pogba was involved in the thick of the action inside three minutes, winning a free-kick from Aron Gunnarsson that would give the Norwegian the perfect start to life in the United dugout, Rashford brilliantly finding the bottom corner.

Solskjaer was punching the air in delight with less than four minutes on the clock.

The contest proved an ideal opportunity for Pogba to send a message on the pitch rather than on social media and he certainly appeared less inhibited as the visitors passed with a good tempo and closed down effectively.

United were superior throughout the first period and it was no surprise when they doubled their advantage just before the half-hour mark when Pogba picked out Herrera, whose speculative effort nicked off Greg Cunningham and gave Neil Etheridge no chance.

However, United's defensive fragility reappeared before the interval, with Rashford handballing carelessly when he moved his upper arm towards the ball under little pressure and Camarasa slammed home the penalty.

But in the end, United made light work of a Cardiff side, who had won their past four home games, with attacking flair throughout.

New Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge of Cardiff when they were relegated in the 2013-14 season

There was a keen sense of intrigue among both sets of supporters about the presence of Solskjaer in the United dugout.

His appointment as Mourinho's temporary successor caused raised eyebrows in South Wales after his disappointing spell managing the Bluebirds in 2014, which included a relegation from the Premier League.

Solskjaer, 45, is contracted to return to his role as manager at Norwegian club Molde next summer, but Cardiff supporters remember him for a disastrous nine-month spell in charge in the Welsh capital.

Solskjaer scored 126 goals in 366 appearances during his 11 years at Old Trafford and is best remembered for scoring the winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1999, along with collecting six Premier League titles.

The sense of goodwill from United's travelling supporters towards the man they called the 'Baby-Faced Assassin' was obvious - they chanted about their temporary boss from well before kick-off and gave him a rapturous reception when the sides emerged at Cardiff City Stadium.

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Before the game, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock had said Solskjaer "could not lose" in his new position. The former striker was keen to get his messages across, moving to the edge of his technical area several times to deliver advice and encourage his team to find more width.

He would have felt slightly unsettled when Cardiff reduced the arrears to 2-1, but a fine team move a minute later saw Martial exchange passes with Pogba and Lingard and fire past Etheridge to give United deserved daylight at the interval.

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Culled from BBC

My view: Paul Pogba played with freedom yesterday, He looked relaxed and played with composure. After the poor performances under their former manager Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemed to give his side a freedom to play a scintillating attacking football. Man-United players looked rejuvenated, their new manager allowed them to express themselves. They played like old Man-U team under Fergie, not to be outrunned and outworked by opponents and to always go for the ball and forward. It's like the players were freed from Mourinho's shackles that was preventing them from doing what they wanted to do. I hope they remain consistent under their new manager.

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