After all those doubts about his future at Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer achieved what Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t do on Saturday: win in the Premier League.
It just needed United to face a Tottenham side devoid of any attacking ingenuity that allowed Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani – with a combined age of 70 – to both score before Marcus Rashford netted in a 3-0 victory in north London.
After collecting one point from four games including a 5-0 spanking at home to Liverpool, the result will give Solskjaer some breathing space, even though fifth-placed United are still eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
“Of course this week has been a difficult one for the players, fans they haven’t been happy,” Solskjaer said. “The experience came through.”
Particularly from the 36-year-old Ronaldo, who volleyed in the opener in the 39th minute.
The Portuguese then turned provider for Cavani, who clipped in the second in the 64th before Rashford came off the bench and produced a curling strike.
“I hope this time we have changed the page,” Ronaldo said.
Rather than Solskjaer feeling the heat – United fans were back singing “Ole’s at the wheel” – the Tottenham supporters were booing their team and chanting at manager Nuno Espirito Santo: “You don’t know what you’re doing” after five losses in 10 this league season.
Chelsea extended their advantage at the top to three points with a 3-0 win at Newcastle United secured by a double from Reece James and Jorginho’s penalty.
“It is a good day because of us. I believe what goes around comes around and I don’t feel happy to celebrate other performances and results. We should be focused on ourselves,” he said.
Klopp’s second-placed Liverpool threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Defending champions Manchester City are two points further back after Guardiola’s 200th league game in charge ended in a 2-0 home loss to Crystal Palace.
Arsenal’s revival continued with a 2-0 win at Leicester to have them behind United on goal difference in sixth place.
Hopes of a City recovery from Wilfried Zaha’s sixth-minute goal for Palace were hit when City had Aymeric Laporte sent off in first-half stoppage time.
Conor Gallagher added a second goal on the break in the 88th.
“Unfortunately it went wrong in many, many things and we lose the game,” Guardiola said.
Mohamed Salah failed to score for the first time in 11 games for Liverpool, but Klopp’s side still looked like easing to victory when Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane scored inside the first 24 minutes.
But Brighton hit back through Enock Mwepu before Leandro Trossard equalised in the 65th.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Brighton, I respect what they did, but today was the day when we could have given them a proper knock and we didn’t,” Klopp said.
Arsenal opened the league with three losses but are unbeaten in the seven games since then.
The Gunners wrapped up the win at Leicester inside 18 minutes with Gabriel Magalhaes and Emile Smith Rowe both scoring.
Elsewhere, Burnley got its first win of the league season by beating Brentford 3-1 to celebrate Sean Dyche’s ninth anniversary as manager while Che Adams clinched Southampton’s first away win in the league since last season in March, curling in a shot for a 1-0 victory at Watford.