Ole recalls Sir Alex's wise words on strikers
A piece of advice which Sir Alex Ferguson gave to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer many years ago was utilised by Edinson Cavani as Manchester United beat Southampton on Sunday.
The Uruguayan front-man came off the bench to assist United's first goal before scoring two incredible headers, the last one in injury time, as the Reds came back from two goals down to beat the Saints 3-2 on the south coast.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was obviously impressed with our no. 7's contribution at St. Mary's.
"Edinson made a great impact," Ole told reporters in the post-match press conference.
"He’s one of the best and cleverest movers in the box. He can peel off you, he can get in front of you. Sometimes it works for you and he certainly had an impact today."
The Reds manager, whose team set a club-record with eight straight away wins in the Premier League, was asked if he saw a lot of himself in Cavani, with our former striker being a renowned impact player for United, scoring more than anyone in hour history when coming off the bench.
"We’re not the same types of players," Ole explained, before having a cheeky little dig at Edinson for tying his boots in start of the second half.
"I’ve not made him, he’s made himself. He reminds me of Andy Cole by the way, with his movement inside the box; he’s so sharp, clever, great timing. He’s not learned off me because he wasn’t ready when the second half started. I was always ready and had studs on, so he made us wait a little bit too much for my liking!"
Particularly, the manner in which Cavani scored his match-winning goals, pleased the boss. It reminded him of something Sir Alex Ferguson used to tell the Norwegian during his playing days at United between 1996 and 2007.
"Sometimes, when we’ve scored goals, it had to be the 'perfect' goal, walking it in, with an extra pass and great skill," our manager said.
"Edinson has been around the block and scored so many goals and played football for so long. He’s been between those posts so many times, he’s seen this game before, he’s scored that goal before. He knows exactly where to move and his best friend in the box is what Sir Alex always used to tell me: 'Your best friend in the box is space', and he gets into that space with perfect timing."
Ole is glad Edinson provides competition, experience and a different alternative to our other forwards. So far, the Uruguayan has scored three times for the Reds.
"He’s got all the attributes for a top-class footballer," explained the manager. "And human being.
"He’s had a great career and scored goals wherever he’s been. He’s so professional, so meticulous in his preparation, in his recovery, what he does at meal-times, before the game, during the game. So I was surprised when he didn’t have his boots on when the second half started. Also, to have a focal point in the box is important for us, we’ve not really had that since Romelu [Lukaku] left. Anthony [Martial], Marcus [Rashford], Mason [Greenwood], they’re different types of forwards. He gives us a great balance and a mix, so we wanted to mix it up and had an impact."
The next chance for Edinson to add to his goal tally will be on Wednesday when his former club, Paris Saint-Germain, visit Old Trafford for the fifth group game in Group H. Ole's men only need a point to secure qualification to the knock-out phase. Kick-off is 20:00 GMT.