Luke Shaw is congratulated by Bruno Fernandes

Revealed: Our six best breakaway goals under Ole

Tuesday 09 March 2021 13:13

The Reds have mastered the art of quickly turning defence into attack – as was shown at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Here’s six of the best counterattacks in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, from a memorable Emirates FA Cup away win right at the beginning of the Norwegian’s tenure, right up until Luke Shaw’s effort on Sunday…


Distance covered: 81 metres
Touches: 12
Time taken: 15.4 seconds
Style: Calm and clinical

The move: Ander Herrera blocks an attempted pass just inside his own box, with Shaw then bringing the ball clear, advancing and playing a deft pass into space for Romelu Lukaku to chase on United’s right wing. The Belgian latches on to the ball, squares to the arriving Jesse Lingard, who takes a touch with his left foot before effortlessly stroking home with his right. Lingard celebrates with a nifty moonwalk and United cruise into the next round with a 3-1 win.

This is how to turn defence into attack! Video

This is how to turn defence into attack!

United have been masters of the counter under Ole and here are six of our finest breakaway efforts…


Distance covered: 80 metres
Touches: 6
Time taken: 11.1 seconds
Style: Sweeping move

The move: Harry Maguire heads the ball clear from the edge of his 18-yard line, finding Nemanja Matic, who chests the ball and hooks a raking pass into the path of Mason Greenwood down the left. United suddenly have a four-on-three against the retreating Brighton defence, with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford tearing through the centre and Bruno Fernandes arriving at the back post. Greenwood picks out Fernandes to perfection and the Portuguese fires a sweet first-time volley low into the net. One end to the other, three-nil to United.


Distance covered: 88 metres
Touches: 15
Time taken: 16.8 seconds
Style: Direct and deadly

The move: Maguire blocks a cross at his near post, cushioning the ball to Matic in the left-back position. The Serbian plays a simple forward pass to Fernandes in space, who takes a couple of strides forward before arcing a 40-yard pass into the path of the onrushing Rashford. There’s plenty of work to do for our no.10, but he dances around two Brighton defenders before lashing the ball into the net. Bruno’s late, late penalty made the headlines but this goal lit up our stunning 3-2 win.

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Distance covered: 90 metres
Touches: 16
Time taken: 19.1 seconds
Style: Passing perfection

The move: Maguire (yep, him again) rises on the edge of his six-yard box to head the ball clear, where Donny van de Beek picks up possession and exchanges passes with Fernandes out on the left flank. The Dutchman threads the ball towards Juan Mata on the halfway line, the Spaniard takes a touch then sends Rashford racing into space on the left. United’s no.10 cuts into the box, plays a reverse pass to the overlapping Fernandes, who sends the ball high into the net via the far post. The 85th-minute strike puts the Reds 2-1 up, is quickly followed by two more goals for a stunning 4-1 win against the Magpies.

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Fernandes’s fantastic finish v Newcastle

Bruno Fernandes scored a brilliant goal against the Magpies in October 2020...


Distance covered: 71 metres
Touches: 10
Time taken: 14.4 seconds
Style: Swift and sweet

The move: With United trailing 0-1, Paul Pogba dispossesses Firmino on the edge of our own box, where van de Beek is there to help out his team-mate and pick a pass out wide to Rashford on the left. Rashford advances to the halfway line, weighs up his options, then finds Greenwood with a stunning cross-field pass. From there the youngster does the rest: beating the offside trap, controlling the ball with his chest before drilling a shot low into the far corner of Alisson’s net. It got United back into a tie we’d eventually win 3-2... not that you’ll need reminding.

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Distance covered: 94 metres
Touches: 12
Time taken: 12.6 seconds
Style: Pacy and powerful

The move: The league leaders are trying to batter down the door early in the second period, when Dean Henderson spots Shaw in space on the left flank. His throw is perfect, allowing our no.23 to chest the ball into space and beat Joao Cancelo and Kevin De Bruyne for pace. Shaw then shifts it to Rashford, who cuts back in on his right before passing back to Luke, who is now free in the area. He takes one touch with his left foot to set, before placing a cool finish into the bottom-right corner. Ederson didn’t even move!

This story has been adapted from a feature originally published in United Review.