When Manchester United defeated Cardiff 5-1 on Saturday, a refreshing brand of football was on display under the leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Not only did United score 5 goals, a feat that hasn’t been seen since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, but the side also maintained a strong attacking grip on the game, with their passing remaining impeccable.
The source of their goals was a Marcus Rashford free-kick, a lucky Ander Herrera shot, a piece of art from Anthony Martial, and a convincing second-half brace from Jesse Lingard, the first of which was scored through a penalty.
While this forward-line certainly won hearts, the attacking punch didn’t stop there, and was on display all the way at the back itself, with Victor Lindelof impressing supporters with his antics on the night.
The centre-back often made daring runs deep into the opposition’s half, with one occasion in the first-half almost seeing him in a scoring position.
This was a recurrent theme during the game, wherein Lindelof also led counter-attacks and made daunting runs to create space for the lone striker up ahead.
For the first time since his purchase, Lindelof seemed willing to fulfill his role in a convincing manner.
It is quite ironic, since the Swede was allegedly purchased by Mourinho due to his attacking flair. However, such runs would never be permitted under the Portuguese gaffer’s defense-oriented regime.
Fans took to Twitter to express their disbelief and joy, many pointing out the sheer impact of Mourinho’s departure.
Lindelof making a solid claim to be our new number 9
— José (@MourinhoMindset) December 22, 2018
Lindelof thriving with license to bring the ball out of defence. Full-backs much higher. An undeniably funner experience watching #mufc today.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) December 22, 2018
It's funny really – Mourinho signed Lindelof partly because he can bring the ball out, but he's had to wait for Mourinho to leave before actually getting to do it.
— Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) December 22, 2018
Lindelof making runs into the final third and creating shot assists. #CARMUN
— Ebuka Akara (@ebuka_akara) December 22, 2018
This season has been crucial for Lindelof, who appears to have learned from his mistakes from last campaign, where his errors at the back had often single-handedly cost United points.
This term, he has been quite solid in the heart of the club’s defense, arguably functioning as their best defender. At the same time, that can’t be taken in as a great feat either, given how morose their defensive record has been so far this season.