With a host of new faces in the first team, Manchester United have beaten Wolves 2-1 at Molineux to finish the 2020/21 campaign unbeaten away from Old Trafford, becoming only the fourth side to achieve such a feat.
It was the clubs first win at Wolves since 2012, and extended their unbeaten away record to 26 games, stretching all the way back to February 2020.
Arsenal hold the record of 27 games unbeaten away from home, something United will have in their sights when the new campaign gets underway.
Result Gives Manager Great Pride
After making 10 changes to his side with the Europa League final just three days away, the mix of youth and experience put in a superb display, giving manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer great pride.
“[I’m] very happy. Proud of them. [The lads] took the ball well, created chances and got the win they deserved,” he said speaking after the final whistle. Today just made me smile, all these players expressing themselves like we want to see and no injuries. We had the pace and enthusiasm of [Anthony] Elanga and Amad, Dan James, then you've got Donny [van de Beek], Nema [Matic] and Juan [Mata] who have got all the experience and quality. It worked well.”
A View To The Future
Manchester United have always prided themselves on giving youth in a chance, so Solskjaer was happy to continue the tradition laid out by Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson, and was delighted to see Anthony Elanga score his first senior goal in a red shirt.
“You’d like to say you that you would see some of these in the future, of course. I think it was a game in the spirit of Man United, Sir Alex and Sir Matt, that you give kids the chance. My job is to do my best for Man United, and I felt today, as I said before, it was a Man United-spirited performances with loads of kids that made their debuts, Elanga scored his first goal, so today I was really proud of them.”
“He could have scored once or twice before but to keep getting in there, keep making the runs, keep being positive. He’s got such an enthusiasm and energy for football and a desire that I love. He deserved it. What you maybe don't see is his attitude, desire, a personality. He’s a very humble lad, works really hard, he’s got some attributes that you could wish for as a player. As you said, that pace, directness, he’s right-footed but equally good on his left. I’ve not really seen him score headers like this, so that was a big bonus as well. The future’s bright for him I think and I know and trust him to keep his feet on the ground and make the most of his talent.”
To go a whole season undefeated away from home was an incredible achievement, and can form a foundation for a sustained title challenge next season - if the home form improves…
“It was about time we did it, we haven’t done it before. What an achievement by all the players, they’ve been excellent and I knew we put this record on the line by making all these changes but we had to. One because we believe in these players, and two because the other players that have played so much this season needed an energy boost for Wednesday.”
Ready For Europa Glory?
There has been much talk of progress at United this season, and the next step is to go on and life a trophy. However, the boss doesn’t feel any additional pressure to achieve this, and believes progress has been made no matter the result against Villareal.
“You always feel pressure at Man United to win things, to win trophies, of course. That’s one of the steps. I’ve said it before, a trophy can hide other imperfections. I think the progress in the league, going to semi-finals, I think it shows progress. My discussions with the club, the dialogue we have, we see we have improved. The next step is to win trophies and hopefully challenge the champions in the Premier League as well,” concluded Solskjaer.