Manchester United captain Ashley Young believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are very close to gelling and kicking on.
The season-opening shellacking of Chelsea proved a false dawn for the Old Trafford faithful, with draws at Wolves and Southampton book-ending an embarrassing home loss to Crystal Palace.
But United put that concerning start to the Premier League behind them and got back to winning ways by seeing off previously unbeaten Leicester on Saturday afternoon.
Marcus Rashford’s early penalty was enough to seal a 1-0 win for Solskjaer’s injury-hit side and Young believes things are coming together after some unlucky results.
“I think we’re very close,” he said.
“A lot was said after the Southampton game but, to be honest, I think they had two chances and one of them they scored from. It wasn’t a bad performance. I didn’t think it was a bad performance.
“We’ve just got to gel things together, keep getting on the scoresheet and I think it could have been a different game today.
“If we had gone on and got a second goal after we got the first then it would have been totally different.
“But we had to show that resilience and that grit and that determination not to concede a goal and we did that today.”
Young was delighted to emerge from a tough game with three points – and just United’s second clean sheet in 16 league matches.
“When you play as a defender, you want to keep a clean sheet and hope the boys up the top can go and get the goals,” Young told BBC Radio 5 live.
“On days you’re not going to play well and you’re going to win games. On days you’re going to play well and not win games.
“There’s going to be a balance and we just want to do the right things and keep applying ourselves the way we have this season.”
Summer signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James showed more promising signs against the Foxes, while fellow new boy Harry Maguire performed admirably against the club he left in the summer for £80million.
“You know, I think the manager’s said about him, he talks non-stop, he’s a real leader and he can play as well,” Young added.
“The style of play we use, we use the centre-halves a lot to play out from the back and everybody has got confidence in him.
“And everybody has confidence in Victor (Lindelof), Jonah [Phil Jones], Marcos (Rojo) – all the defenders, all the centre-backs can go in there and do the job.
“Again he showed today what a man he is, and I think as a backline we played a really good game. The main objective was to get three points and that’s what we did.”
3⃣ points— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) September 14, 2019
✅ Clean sheet
🏟 Old Trafford pic.twitter.com/XoDOa7M9vu
Brendan Rodgers echoed Young’s sentiments, calling Maguire “a good guy and a top-class player” despite Leicester’s travelling fans letting their anger at his departure known.
Caglar Soyuncu has stepped up the plate impressively since the England international’s exit but was guilty of the foul that allowed Rashford to wrap up victory from the spot.
“Listen, that happens with young players,” Leicester boss Rodgers said. “They make mistakes.
“He’s been fantastic stepping in from when Harry went. I thought apart from that he was really dominant in the game today and played well.
“But this is the nature of it. There’s lots of young players in the squad, they’ll make mistakes, so we’ll help them get over that and make sure the confidence is ready through the week for the next game.”
Reaction from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Marcus Rashford ended Manchester United’s penalty curse and got the Red Devils back to winning ways as Leicester City’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season came to an end on Saturday.
With draws at Wolves and Southampton book-ending a chastening home loss to Crystal Palace, the hosts enjoyed a timely shot in the arm on their return from the international break.
Missed penalties cost United dearly in two of those matches, but Rashford made no mistake from at Old Trafford, with his early spot-kick proving the difference in a hard-fought 1-0 win.
Watch his reaction above:
Jose Mourinho has hinted that Manchester United did not have the kind of structure upon which Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool have built their recent success.
Mourinho parted company with United in December after two and a half years at the helm during which the club finished sixth and then a distant second behind derby rivals City, winning three trophies, but failing to reap the rewards of heavy investment in the squad.
City and Liverpool fought out a two-horse race last season with the men from Old Trafford once again crossing the line in sixth place, the former claiming the title and the latter the Champions League crown.
Asked to explain the reasons for their current dominance, the Portuguese told the Telegraph: “I think the structure of the clubs.
“When you look at City, for example: the owner, Ferran Soriano [chief executive], Txiki Begiristain [director of football], Pep Guardiola, Pep’s staff and then the players. This looks like harmony, empathy, chemistry, quality, sharing the same project, sharing the same ideas.
“Liverpool? I also think that Jurgen [Klopp] is in a good position. He is very stable. I think he has control of his ‘areas’. He is supported by people who think the same way, the structure of the club.
“Okay, Pep: fantastic coach. Jurgen: fantastic coach. I think if tomorrow one of them leaves and another top coach comes – of course he has to be top like they are – the team will still be there [at that level]. I think performance is globality. I think basically it is that.”
Mourinho is currently awaiting a new opportunity having turned down a lucrative offer to head for China, but knows when he is called upon, it will be by a club which is having problems and not one where he will inherit a finished product.
His critics accuse him of failing to get the most out of the expensively-assembled squad with which he worked during his time at United, with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez now both playing their football at Inter Milan, the latter on loan after a miserable spell in Manchester.
Mourinho said: “Sanchez… I felt him [to be] not a happy man. And I think in every job you have when you are not happy, it is not so easy to perform at every level.
“And maybe I am wrong. Maybe it was me who was not capable to get into him and to get the best out of him. As a manager, sometimes you have the capacity to get the best out of the players and other times you are not successful in that approach.
“But the reality is that I always felt [of Sanchez], ‘a sad man’. So probably in Italy he will recover this. I hope he can. I always wish well to every player.”