Manchester United thrashed Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford in the Premier League on Saturday to ease the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ronaldo struck in the 39th minute with a perfect right-foot volley into the far corner of Hugo Lloris’s net from a glorious pass by Portuguese compatriot Bruno Fernandes.
Cavani added the second in the 64th and substitute Rashford wrapped up a comfortable win four minutes from time as United put last weekend’s 5-0 home drubbing by Liverpool behind them.
“Great goals, all of them,” Solskjaer said. “The first one is the major one. What a pass from Bruno and Cristiano is the best. If he misses one he’s still as focused for the next one.
“The experience of Edinson Cavani and Cristiano is massive. We need it. We can’t hide. The week has been difficult for all the players. They really stuck at it.”
United’s first Premier League win since Sept. 19 lifted them to fifth in the table on 17 points from 10 games, while Nuno Espirito Santo’s shot-shy Spurs side are in eighth on 15.
The visitors came into the match following a week in which questions were raised about the future of Solskjaer after arch-rivals Liverpool ran them ragged at Old Trafford on Sunday.
But led by the class of Ronaldo the visitors dug in and battled for their under-fire boss in a first half which ended with the Portuguese volleying the opener to settle his side.
It was Ronaldo’s 11th goal in 19 games against Spurs and the forward has scored more times against the London side than any other English team during his career.
Tottenham struggled to carve out any clear openings with Harry Kane lacking support despite the efforts of Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura, whose substitution was booed by the home fans.
Ten minutes later Cavani was played through by Ronaldo and the Uruguayan calmly clipped the ball into the net to give United breathing space and silence the disgruntled home crowd.
It was left for Rashford to come off the bench and apply the coup de grace with a simple finish to give Solskjaer hope that he can turn the season around and save his job.
Asked if the win means United can forget about the defeat by Liverpool, Solskjaer said: “Of course it doesn’t. That’s always going to be in the history books – one of the darkest days. A dark spot on our CV. But football becomes history so quickly.”
Tottenham’s capitulation means their manager Nuno finds the spotlight fixed on his tenure in his first season in charge with his side lacking creativity and failing to get a shot on target.
Spurs have scored their fewest goals after 10 league games since 2013-14 when they also got nine, while United kept their second clean sheet in 22 games in all competitions.
“We conceded in poor ways, lost balls, allowed counter-attacks. We couldn’t break them,” said Nuno. “The last pass was never there, the finish was never there. Bad performance.”