No-one is drawing the remotest kind of comparison, of course, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to provide the same reminder that football at this place can be simple, expressive and free of the monumental ego which has sucked the life out of the club in the last few years.
What was perhaps most striking as the Norwegian moved ahead of Busby’s record of five straight league wins for an incoming United manager was his reluctance to put himself in the frame. It is rare in this era of the superstar manager for the leader to be confined to the dug-out. But Solskjaer seems satisfied that it is where you should sit when your work is done. His instructions are something along the lines of: ‘Play, express your skills, feel joy to be alive.’ You don’t need touchline theatrics to reinforce that.
going to be confident,’ the manager observed.
The laws of probability had suggested Rashford would deliver a signature moment. He’d tried something similar moments earlier and before the day was done his right instep had despatched another curled effort from the right apex of the box which Jesse Lingard was close to converting. It was Rashford’s 150th appearance for United – a landmark which only Norman Whiteside, Ryan Giggs and Best reached faster.
Paul Pogba also continues to resemble a player re-incarnate. It was his turn of pace which sent United ahead. His first touch on a 30-yard cross-field pass took it back past Gaetan Bong whose delivered nudge with the elbow which brought Pogba to ground as he threatened to follow it past him. Pogba jogged on the spot before sending the right foot penalty kick to Button’s right.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Manchester United (4-2-3-1):
De Gea 6; Young 6, Lindelof 6.5, Jones 5.5, Dalot 7; Herrera 6.5, Matic 6; Lingard 6 (Mata 75), Pogba 7.5, Martial 6.5 (Lukaku 82); Rashford 8 (Carnan 93)
Bailly, Sanchez, Pereira, Romero
Goals: Pogba, Rashford
Brighton and Hove Albion (4-4-1-1):
Button 7; Montoya 6, Duffy 7, Dunk 6.5, Bong 5; March 5.5 (Knockaert 61), Stephens 6, Propper 6, Locadia 6.5; Gross 6.5 (Kayal 82); Murray 6
Bruno, Balogun, Steele, Gyokeres
Referee: P. Tierney 7