What a victory for Manchester United! They surely secure their passage to the last 16 with four away goals and no response.
They could have been out of sight in the first half as Rashford and McTominay wasted good opportunities but dominated possession at the break as Fernandes pounced on a defensive error.
He got his second after the interval after a wonderful bit of play with Rashford and James, verified by VAR after the linesman had initially flagged it offside.
Rashford got himself a goal on the counter soon after before James put Solskjaer’s side out of reach with a composed finish in the dying moments. Sociedad was a long way from their best, but United won’t care one bit.
The return leg is a week today, at Old Trafford on February 25. United follow that game with Premier League matches they will travel away to Chelsea and Man City, so the Sociedad game is a good chance to rest and rotate with the tie surely done and dusted.
Bruno Fernandes was the star again, scoring in either half to put United in control before Marcus Rashford and Dan James capped a terrific performance.
Solskjaer made no secret of United’s attacking intentions when he spoke before kick-off. ‘I want freshness and energy, players who play with the spirit of Man United,’ he said.
We’re away in Europe so the message has been it’s worth going for goals. We have to take the advantage of whenever there is an opportunity we need to go forward – attack quickly. We know that away goals are more important, so why not have a go?’
His players carried out their orders but Sociedad was equally bold in an open first half that surprisingly only brought one goal.
It got off to a frenetic start when Eric Bailly’s miskick the ball in the second minute to let in Alexander Isak who played in Adnan Januzaj. The former United star strode inside before curling a shot too close to Dean Henderson’s goal for comfort.
United immediately broke upfield and Rashford shrugged off the challenge of Igor Zubeldia to go through on goal. However, Alejandro Remiro came out to make the first of numerous good saves.
A brilliant touch inside by Fernandes allowed Scott McTominay to rush past Robin Le Normand and through on goal again, but Remiro kept it with his legs this time.
Then Alex Telles’s through ball picked find Fernandes’s run in behind the Sociedad defence in the 19th minute. He took the right option by restoring it for Rashford who had time in front of goal to pick his spot but fired straight at Remiro.
The former Athletic Bilbao keeper had been his team’s saviour up to that point, and he came to the rescue once more when he raced out of his goal to take the ball away from Rashford.
But when Remiro unwisely tried it again in the 27th minute, it cited United with a goal.
Rashford picked out Fernandes’s run in behind as he raced away from Zubielda and Le Normand.
Remiro was already charging out and Fernandes stepped aside, predicting what would happen next.
Remiro collided with his teammates and the ball ran loose for Fernandes to guide it into an empty net beyond the gloomy Nacho Monreal.
United’s defence had started again to look shaky after those opening exchanges and was unrested on several occasions, not least when Mason Greenwood got back to hook the ball away from Monreal just as he looked set to score with an easy tap-in at the far post.
The Spaniards made a bright start to the second half as well, but it was United who extended their lead to take the influence of the tie.
Again Rashford was the producer, swinging the ball from the left flank towards the edge of the penalty box.
Fernandes’ little dummy tricked Le Nomand who went to ground and Daniel James’s challenge on Monreal sent the ball back into Fernandes’s path and he swept it beyond Remiro into the bottom corner.
It was initially ruled out for offside but the Italian VAR official had a good look and overturned the decision.
It was the Portugal star’s 21st goal of the season and his fifth in the last five games – with only one of those coming from the penalty spot.
James wasn’t so lucky with VAR when he scored from Greenwood’s cross, replays showing that the teenager was just offside before he passed.
By then, United was three up after a clinical counter-attack saw Rashford bag the third.
The ball started with Henderson and quickly found its way to Fred who steered a wonderful through ball into Rashford’s path.
Again the Sociedad defence was deep open, and this time Rashford made no mistake whirling the ball past Remiro.
Fernandes then sent James clear but he couldn’t beat the keeper. Still, United’s possession reign allowed Solskjaer to send on new £37million signing Amad Diallo for Greenwood in a double substitution that also saw Juan Mata replace Fernandes.
And James finally got his reward in the 90th minute when he raced clear and guided the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs.