Manchester United 2-1 Brighton: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secures seventh consecutive win
Highlights and report as goals from Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford give hosts victory
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 20/01/19 12:01am
Manchester United made it seven wins out of seven under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-1 victory over Brighton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Paul Pogba continued his fine form as he won and converted a penalty for United's opener (23), before Marcus Rashford got his eighth goal in 10 games with a fine curling effort from an acute angle (42).
Pascal Gross halved the deficit in the second half with a poked finish from eight yards (72), but United held on to maintain their 100 per cent record since Jose Mourinho left the club.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Young (6), Lindelof (7), Jones (7), Dalot (6), Matic (7), Herrera (8), Pogba (7), Lingard (6), Martial (7), Rashford (8)
Subs: Mata (6), Lukaku (NA), Darmian (NA)
Brighton: Button (5), Montoya (5), Duffy (7), Dunk (6), Bong (5), March (6), Stephens (5), Propper (6), Gross (6), Locadia (5), Murray (6)
Subs: Knockaert (6), Andone (5), Kayal (NA)
Man of the match: Marcus Rashford
The result means United are sixth, just three points off fourth-place Chelsea, while Brighton are in 13th.
There was a minute's applause before kick-off for former United manager Sir Matt Busby, the day before the 25th anniversary of his death.
Though Brighton caused some issues in United's penalty area with aerial balls, the hosts started on the front foot and went close as Rashford saw his effort from 12 yards cleared well by the head of Shane Duffy.
Pogba's acrobatic effort was then deflected just wide, but he created and finished off the opener as he was sandwiched by Gaetan Bong and Solly March to earn United a penalty midway through the half. After a trademark slow run-up, Pogba found the right corner superbly beyond David Button.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went for the same side that beat Tottenham 1-0 at Wembley last week, with Bailly and Sanchez replacing McTominay and Fred on the bench. But just before kick-off Shaw was taken ill, replaced by Dalot at left-back.
Brighton were also completely unchanged after their 1-0 defeat against Liverpool last Saturday.
They should have had a second as Button saved superbly from Anthony Martial when one-on-one after Victor Lindelof's simple long ball over Martin Montoya, while at the other end Glenn Murray flashed a chance wide on the half volley inside the box.
But it was soon 2-0 as Rashford got his fourth goal in four Premier League games, using neat skill to get away from Gross at an angle on the left of the box before curling a beauty into the far right corner on the stretch.
United continued their dominance in the second half as Lingard stretched inches away from a fine Rashford ball six yards out, while Martial flashed just over the bar after slipping away from Gross on the edge of the box.
Gross made for a nervy finish as he collected Davy Propper's lofted ball into the box to control well and poke beyond David de Gea, and though Brighton piled numbers into the box to find a leveller, United saw the game out for another vital win in their quest for the top four.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "I can't complain can I? I am just smiling and this is one of these things I will remember for the rest of my life. It's just been a month, it's been a rollercoaster and it's class to be here."
Chris Hughton: "It's disappointment. When you come here you know you've got to stay in the game, and we've paid the price for a slow start and poor goals conceded."
- Solskjaer is the first manager in Man Utd's history to win his first six league games in charge of the club.
- Solskjaer is just the third manager in Premier League history to win his first six games in charge of a certain club, after Carlo Ancelotti with Chelsea and Pep Guardiola with Man City.
- Brighton have lost all nine of their Premier League away games against 'big six' sides by an aggregate score of 2-19.
- United have won more penalties (7) while Brighton have conceded more (also 7) than any other Premier League side this season.
- Paul Pogba's goal was his eighth in the Premier League for Man Utd this season, equalling his best return in a single season in the top five European leagues (also 8 with Juventus in 2014/15 and 2015/16).
Man of the match - Marcus Rashford
He's among several United players to have improved under Solskjaer, Rashford looked in complete command on Saturday.
His goal was superb, a neat bit of skill to create a yard, and an unlikely finish from an angle, but his all-round running is pivotal for United's game. He never stops chasing those channels, allowing space in-behind him and in the middle of the final third for Pogba, Martial and Lingard to exploit.
Manchester United now go to Arsenal on Friday night in the FA Cup fourth round, while Brighton are at home to West Brom in the FA Cup on Saturday at 3pm.