Mason Greenwood should not be judged solely by the goal scored, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the teenage efforts achieved a comeback victory over Brighton.
The 19-year-old scored his first Premier League goal with his head at Old Trafford this season after Paul Pogba’s volley bounced off the country.
It was his first in the league since May 2020 and his sixth goal in 40 appearances in all competitions this season, the campaign that started with him sent home from an English camp after violating Covid’s guidelines.
“Once he scores those goals, we know he will add another dimension to his game,” Solskjaer, who could be without striker Anthony Martial, told the rest of the season due to injuries.
“The world today is so important for statistics and this and that.
“The boy played fantastically [during] the last two or three months and it really came. If he continues to learn and improve, he will achieve more – he is a deadly finisher. “
Brighton took the lead early when former United striker Danny Welbeck reacted the fastest after his opening shot was saved, nodding his head from close range.
However, not for the first time this season, United advanced from the lethargic opening period to separate in the second to win.
Marcus Rashford equalized when he opened his body and with an excellent shot threw into the corner of the dismissal of Bruno Fernandes, before Greenwood’s winner eight minutes from the end.
The result gives United a cushion of 11 points in the fight for the best spot, although West Ham and Everton could reduce that to eight if they both win the match.
Henderson nodded over De Geo
In the end, this game can be seen as a more significant thing for what happened before it than for what happened in it.
In an upgrade, Solskjaer said both of his goalkeepers will play matches before the end of the season.
However, Dean Henderson’s choice over David de Gea seemed significant.
Henderson played in six consecutive games just before the international break after De Gea returned to Spain for the birth of his first child.
Against Brighton, however, there was no reason why De Gea should have been removed for any reason other than Solskjaer’s managerial preferences.
It has been obvious for some time that the current situation is unsustainable next season and now United could have the awkward problem of trying to sell their earnings as each club’s finances stretch.
However, Henderson must justify his place.
The Englishwoman could not be blamed for Welbeck’s goal, as he did an extraordinary job of failing to throw out the first effort.
The shedding of the routine cross shortly thereafter – requiring Harry Maguire’s intervention to clear up the danger – was worrying.
Henderson was a casual passerby when Lewis Dunk cut the crossbar as Brighton tried to increase their lead, but the calm way he handled the reduced work given to him after the interval provides no obvious reason why Solskjaer would regret his decision.
Welbeck hurt his old club again
It has been almost seven years since Welbeck left Old Trafford for Arsenal in a £ 16million transfer.
A series of injuries prevented the 30-year-old from fulfilling the promise he showed in his formative years at United, but he regularly bothered his old club.
Today’s effort was his fourth goal against them, all but one coming to this ground.
His reaction to the goal – the first time Brighton was in front at Old Trafford since 1983 – was impressive and Welbeck was convinced he should have had a penalty in the second half when Maguire pushed him as he tried to put Brighton in front again, the ball he rolls painfully over the goal.
Clearly, time goes on. Now Greenwood is trying to create a future for Manchester United and England.
With Martial, Rashford struggling with shoulder and knee injuries and Edinson Cavani struggling for form, Greenwood may have to deal with United’s attack during the final weeks of the season.
He shot for the first time at the station early in this competition and although his six goals this season are far from last year’s 17, the confidence he will gain with this contribution will be welcomed by Solskjaer.
‘De Gea will definitely play for us again’ – what they said
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BBC Sport: “It’s always hard to play with Brighton. We had good results and we had to earn them the hard way – we managed to find a way in the second half.
“Mason [Greenwood] was mature. He was one of our brightest players today. He was clean, he was neat and he scored a goal. It’s a header inside a six-foot box and that’s what we need more than Mason. “
When choosing Henderson over De Geo: “I have two great guards, two number one. David de Gea spent some time at home and then he had international representatives so he didn’t play for about a month. He will definitely play football for us again.”
Brighton boss Graham Potter told BBC Sport: “We contributed well in the game. We took the lead and were probably the team that carried the most threats in the first half – we just missed that last pass.
“Manchester United responded in the second half without creating too many chances. They scored from not too much.
“When it was live, I thought it was a penalty [on Welbeck] then I suppose it is a clear and obvious discussion.
“Had it been given by Mike Dean, I don’t think VAR would have surpassed it. In the end, there’s nothing we can do. We’re disappointed we didn’t come up with anything.”
Kings of Return – Statistics
- Manchester United have beaten Brighton twice in the Premier League this season despite receiving first place in both games, only the second time they have done so against an opponent of the season, also scoring this against Southampton 2012-13.
- Brighton remains without a win away at Manchester United in 13 attempts in all competitions (D2 L11).
- Manchester United have scored 25 points this season by losing Premier League positions, nine more than any other team. Brighton dropped 20 points from the positions they won, three more than anyone else.
- Manchester United have won eight Premier League games after receiving first this season – only Newcastle United 2001-02 and Manchester United 2012-13 have won more such games in one season (nine each).
- Danny Welbeck of Brighton became the first player to score three goals in the Premier League against Manchester United after appearing for the club in competition. His other two goals against them arrived for Arsenal, in February 2016 and May 2017.
- Only Wayne Rooney (15) and Marcus Rashford (13) scored more goals in the Premier League as a teenager for Manchester United than Mason Greenwood (12).
- Season 2020-21 It’s only the second season in which two players who have previously appeared for Manchester United in the Premier League result against them (Wilfried Zaha and Danny Welbeck), along with the 1997-98 campaign, when Dion Dublin and Mark Hughes did so.
- Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United has been involved in more Premier League goals than anyone else since his debut (42-24 goals, 18 assists).
Manchester United play the first game of the Europa League quarter-finals against Spanish Granada on Thursday (20:00 BST) before traveling to Tottenham on Sunday (16:30).
Brighton will host Everton on Monday (20:15).
- 6PogbaReplaced byMcTominayu 84 ‘minutes
- 11GreenwoodBooked 89 minutes
- 18Bruno Fernandes
- 10RashfordReplaced byJamesu 72 ‘minutes
- 7CavaniBooked for 63 minutesReplaced byvan de Beeku 82 ‘minutes
- 1de Gea
- 34van de Beek
- 38Let’s get started
- 3WhiteBooked for 66 minutes
- 13GreatBooked for 42 minutes
- 14LallanaReplaced byZeqiriu 88 ‘minutes
- 15BlueReplaced byJahanbakhshu 87 ‘minutes
- 11TrossardReplaced byMac Allisteru 63 ‘minutes
- 10Mac Allister
- 17Pick it up
The match ends, Manchester United 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
End of the second half, Manchester United 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Pascal Groß tries to head the ball to a team mate, but Lewis Dunk is caught offside.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Admitted by Luke Shaw.
Scott McTominay (Manchester United) takes the free-kick in the defensive half.
Misdemeanor by Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Foul by Daniel James (Manchester United).
Joël Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion) takes the free-kick on the left wing.
Foul by Daniel James (Manchester United).
Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion) takes the free-kick.
Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) is booked.
Foul by Daniel James (Manchester United).
Joël Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion) takes the free-kick in the defensive half.
Offense Fred (Manchester United).
Neal Maupay (Brighton and Hove Albion) takes the free-kick.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Andi Zeqiri replaces Adam Lallana.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Alireza Jahanbakhsh replaces Jakub Moder.
Luke Shaw (Manchester United) takes the free-kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben White (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Substitution, Manchester United. Scott McTominay replaced Paul Pogba.