Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expressed his pride in his young players after Manchester United won 2-1 at Wolves to complete the “terrific achievement” of going through the whole Premier League season undefeated away from home.
With second place already guaranteed and Wednesday’s Europa League final against Villarreal ahead, boss Solskjaer made 10 changes to his starting line-up for the match at Molineux.
Those coming in included Amad Diallo, 18, and 19-year-old Anthony Elanga, who in the 13th minute marked his second senior appearance by heading in his first United goal.
𝗪𝗪𝗪𝗪𝗪𝗪𝗪𝗗𝗪𝗗𝗗𝗗𝗗𝗪𝗗𝗪𝗗𝗪𝗪— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 23, 2021
Nelson Semedo equalised in the 39th minute before Juan Mata struck a penalty in first-half stoppage time as United, with the unbeaten away record, matched a feat only previously achieved in the English top-flight by Preston in 1888-89 and Arsenal in 2001-02 and 2003-04.
The closing stages of the contest saw three teenagers come off the United bench in Shola Shoretire and debutants Hannibal Mejbri and Will Fish.
When asked about the youngsters who had been involved, Solskjaer said: “You’d like to say you’d see some of these in the future, of course.
“I think it was a game in the spirit of Man United, Sir Alex (Ferguson) and Sir Matt (Busby) gave players a chance.
“It’s a terrific achievement to get through a whole season with no defeats away from home and we knew by making these changes you might take a risk of losing that record. But they did everyone proud, fantastic performance.”
He added: “That’s my sense of satisfaction, seeing players going out there, expressing themselves, enjoying themselves.
“It’s never been about me. Anyone can write anything about me, as long as it’s not lies, I don’t mind, any opinion about me I don’t really care about.
“My job is to do my best for Man United and I felt today it was a Man United-spirited performance, with loads of kids making their debuts, and Elanga scored his first goal. I was really proud of them.
“The future’s bright for (Elanga) I think, and I know I can trust him to keep his feet on the ground and make the most of his talent.”
What an afternoon for Anthony Elanga… 🔥— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 23, 2021
Solskjaer also once again said he did not expect skipper Harry Maguire to feature in Wednesday’s match in Gdansk, but did not rule him out.
Regarding the England defender, who has been sidelined by an ankle problem, Solskjaer said: “Of course he wants to play. It’s going to be up to the doctor to say how he is, but I don’t expect him to be ready.
“It doesn’t look great, but ever the optimist, I’m still hopeful.”
Wolves finished 13th on the day fans returned to their stadium and bade farewell to boss Nuno Espirito Santo, following the club’s announcement on Friday that he would be leaving after the game.
A crowd of 4,500 Wolves fans were permitted to attend, and supporters made their appreciation for the Portuguese’s four-year tenure clear as they chanted his name before, during and after the match.
Nuno – who guided the club to promotion, back-to-back seventh-placed Premier League finishes and a Europa League quarter-final – said: “It was emotional for all of us since we arrived at the stadium – the presence of the fans, the way they were together.
“It’s a special day for all of us, a day of joy, looking back, seeing we had special moments together, very special moments that will stay forever in our memories. I’m very thankful to the fans.”
Wolves on Friday had said Nuno was leaving “by mutual agreement”.
And when asked after the United game if it had been a mutual decision, he said: “We found a club that since day one have given us all the support, and there was not one decision that we didn’t make together.
“There was always dialogue, there was always respect and this will stay forever.”
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