Manchester United began its campaign in 2021 with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Friday to join Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
Anthony Martial put United ahead in the first half when he forced an acrobatic save from Emiliano Martinez before he buried a superb diving header past the Villa goalkeeper after Aaron-Wan Bissaka’s cross in the 40th minute.
Bertrand Traore then scored the equaliser in the 58th minute when he got on the end of a sharp Jack Grealish pass at the far post and beat United keeper David De Gea with a slick shot from close range.
But Villa’s joy was short-lived as Fernandes drilled his penalty into the bottom right corner three minutes later after Paul Pogba went down under a challenge from Douglas Luiz, with the spot-kick given after a VAR check.
“There is a reason behind the color of my hair,” Solskjaer said of his grey locks, “and that’s just that we like to do it the hard way at Man United.”
“We’ve shown what we are capable of and we are improving at home as well. This result is massive for the confidence and for the attitude,” said Solskjaer.
The win stretched Man United’s unbeaten record to 10 matches – 8 victories and 2 draws – and put them level on 33 points with champions Liverpool after 16 games this season.
Meanwhile, the second match on Saturday saw West Ham United register a stunning win over Everton 1-0 to move into the top-10 in the points table.
After 4 previous defeats as an opposition manager at Goodison Park since leaving for United in 2013, West Ham managed David Moyes saw Tomas Soucek score a winner in the 88th minute. It was only West Ham’s second win in seven matches.
“Coming here tonight and winning was really important,” said David Moyes, who is a year into his second stint in charge of West Ham.
“Everton are in a great moment, have been playing well, getting great results and had a chance to go second, so you couldn’t under-estimate what it would mean to Everton.”