Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with his players after Manchester United scored five goals for the first time since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson to mark a memorable start to life after Jose Mourinho against Cardiff City.
Marcus Rashford got the ball rolling with a magnificent free-kick after four minutes, with Ander Herrera doubling the lead before Anthony Martial scored a truly sublime goal to restore Man United’s two goal advantage.
The second half was something of a stroll as United, buoyed by Solskjaer’s arrival, played with swagger and scored two further goals through Jesse Lingard.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer emphasized his delight at how the defence played and praised the quality of the United team throughout.
This performance – in spirit, in speed, in attacking appetite, in all areas, really – was the direct opposite to what unfolded at Anfield last weekend.
And yet, Solskjaer hardly made any fundamental changes. He has only been caretaker manager for two days. All he did was play Paul Pogba further forward, encouraged full-backs Luke Shaw and Ashley Young to drive forward, and reminded every player that they wore the United badge for a reason and should express themselves accordingly.
The end result was magnificent – cathartic, even. Freed from the shackles of Mourinho’s toxicity, United had fun. They enjoyed themselves on the pitch, playing incisively in tight areas with each other. Red shirts streamed forward as if they’d been shot out of a cannon.
There was swagger. There was unity. There was even a hint of arrogance. There were goals all over the place.
It suddenly felt like Manchester United again.