Just when Manchester United appear set for another crisis, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets a much-needed win. Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani made the headlines for their goals against Everton on Saturday and rightly so. But Luke Shaw’s improvement was noticeable throughout the contest, with the England international impressing at both ends of the pitch.
United went into Saturday’s showdown with Everton under pressure.
After losing to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir over the past week, Solskjaer needed his side to pull together and pick up a vital three points.
Things got off to a rocky start when Everton opened the scoring through Bernard, with the Brazil international striking past David De Gea after wrong-footing Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
But, from that moment on, the Red Devils improved.
They drew level through Fernandes, with the 26-year-old heading home for his fifth goal of the campaign.
And he got number six shortly afterwards, with his curling effort sailing past Jordan Pickford – who was anticipating a touch from Marcus Rashford.
United had to dig deep at times but secured the victory late on through Cavani, with the Uruguay international easily beating Pickford to get on the scoresheet for his club for the first time.
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It was a day full of positives for Solskjaer’s side.
Harry Maguire impressed throughout the showdown, with the England international succeeding at nullifying the threat of Everton star Dominic Calvert-Lewin up top.
Fred and Scott McTominay provided energy and tenacity in the middle of the field, with both impressing upon their returns to the starting XI.
And Fernandes was back to his blockbuster best, with the 26-year-old the standout performer.
Shaw, however, deserves credit too.
The United star has struggled for consistency ever since his move from Southampton in 2014, back when Louis van Gaal ruled the Old Trafford roost.
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But Shaw was impressive against Everton, grabbing his second assist from as many games.
The England international’s beautiful cross was headed home by Fernandes for United’s equaliser, giving Pickford no chance in the process.
That came days after he’d assisted Anthony Martial in Istanbul and suggests he’s benefitting from competition from Alex Telles, who joined from Porto back in the summer transfer window.
United will now be hopeful Shaw continues to excel in attack, something Patrice Evra and Denis Irwin were particularly gifted at during their spells at the club.
But the problem is, however, that he may now be set for a spell on the sidelines.
Shaw was forced out of the match against Everton with a hamstring injury and, speaking afterwards, Solskjaer was furious at the FA for their fixture pile-up.
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“We were set up to fail,” Solskjaer said following the match.
“Luke Shaw was injured today because we’ve been to Turkey on Wednesday night, got back in Thursday morning and are playing Saturday lunchtime. It’s an absolute shambles.
“I want to praise the boys for the character they’ve shown. They deserve better than being thrown out here to fail today. The authorities set us up to fail.
“How can I set us up today for a 12:30 kick-off? City and Liverpool played on Tuesday and play again on Sunday. Who’s responsible? We’ve had enough of that. I’ve had enough.
“Set us up on a Sunday. It’s an international break after. No argument.”
He then added: “Mason Greenwood was not feeling well last night and Luke, hamstring – it might be a long one. Marcus Rashford I think is (also) struggling. That’s the demands on the players.”
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