January 2, 2019 / 11:39 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Solskjaer matches Busby as Man Utd beat Newcastle

* Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd won again, 2-0 at Newcastle

* It was Solskjaer’s fourth straight win as caretaker manager

* He’s the first United boss since Matt Busby to achieve this

* Second-half sub Romelu Lukaku scored with his first touch

* Marcus Rashford struck the second to seal United’s win

* Newcastle gave United some shaky moments

* Newcastle visit Chelsea next, Man Utd play Spurs at Wembley (Updates with details, quotes)


Jan 2 (Reuters) - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Midas touch at Manchester United continued against Newcastle United as goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford earned the caretaker manager a fourth successive win on Wednesday.

Only the great Matt Busby, who won his first five games in charge of United back in 1946, had previously started a managerial reign at Old Trafford with a four-match winning streak.

On a more difficult night for Solskjaer, though, against stubborn Newcastle, it was a second-half substitution from the Norwegian that propelled United to their latest success as Lukaku scored with his first touch within 38 seconds in the 64th minute.

As soon as he came on, the Belgian latched on to Rashford’s free kick, which was not cleanly held by Newcastle’s otherwise excellent goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Then Rashford himself doubled the lead after a fine counter-attack involving Lukaku and the returning Alexis Sanchez, ensuring that sixth-placed United have now scored 14 goals in four games in their perfect start under Solskjaer.

What delighted him almost as much as another win was that his side managed to avoid conceding against a motivated Newcastle side, for whom Christian Atsu was in particularly lively mood.

“Finally, we kept a clean sheet. A very professional performance,” a beaming Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “We didn’t hit the heights that we can do but we were in control, kept plugging away and got the goals.”

Newcastle, who lost for the eighth time at home in the league this season, had their moments in the first half with Ghanaian Atsu coming closer to striking for Newcastle on three occasions but they are now just two points above the drop zone.

The key moment came immediately after Lukaku had been brought on and demonstrated his predatory instinct, pouncing on the loose ball from Rashford’s swerving shot and prodding home.

“A good first touch from a sub,” said Solskjaer, who was renowned as the sharpest of ‘super subs’ himself in his distinguished playing career for United.

“When you see big Romelu Lukaku running towards you, as a keeper, you might take your hands away.

“We were sluggish in the first half, it was like a testimonial, too many square passes. Yet we controlled the game well, we concentrated and, overall, it was a very professional performance.”

Once again, there were important contributions from both Rashford and Paul Pogba, who seem liberated under Solskjaer’s stewardship.

“Marcus Rashford has the Cristiano (Ronaldo) hit, it swerves everywhere,” Solskjaer said of his free kick. “But I (also) liked his goal today. Calmed himself down, just passed it in. Well done. He is only 21, you have to remember that.

“You need to rattle Paul Pogba at times to get him going. He has been immense for us.”

United had looked a little sluggish and defensively vulnerable early on, especially when Phil Jones put them under unnecessary pressure when caught in possession, having to make a splendid if desperate recovery tackle to thwart Salomon Rondon.

The Red Devils eventually began to assert themselves later in the half, Rashford being denied by Dubravka’s sharpness in coming off his line.

Pogba, who had scored four and made three other goals in his previous three matches, screwed one shot wide before the break and later missed out on a fine chance of extending his streak. (Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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