“That was impressive.”
Manchester United returned to the Champions League in style on Tuesday evening, producing a defiant performance to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at the Parc des Princes.
Captain Bruno Fernandes put United ahead through a re-taken first-half penalty before PSG were gifted an equaliser when Anthony Martial headed into his own net after 55 minutes.
Then, having squandered a few presentable opportunities, Marcus Rashford struck an 87th-minute winner, repeating his PSG-toppling heroics from the knockout round in March 2019.
United were organised, aggressive and strangely untroubled by PSG’s superstars on their return to the French capital as they built on Saturday’s win over Newcastle United.
Kylian Mbappe was largely kept quiet by United’s defenders, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Axel Tuanzaebe in particular showing an impressive turn of pace to frustrate the 2018 World Cup winner.
Neymar, too, cut an increasingly exasperated figure, with the Brazilian struggling to create chances when he dropped deep to elude his markers, one of whom was Scott McTominay.
The Scotland international, who kept his starting place from Saturday’s win at Newcastle, was tasked with tracking Neymar’s runs and blocking off possible passing lanes in front of United’s defence.
While impressive with his workrate, the 23-year-old was guilty of losing the former Barcelona star on occasion and was, at times, erratic with his passing.
However, as it turns out, McTominay had a pretty good reason for not always finding his intended target.
“Scotty played the first-half with one eye as well,” said Solskjaer.
“That was the most impressive thing, because he lost his contact lens. That was impressive.”
Playing with one contact lens is presumably a nightmare. It does lead one to wonder, then, why McTominay didn’t slip off to the sideline to put in a replacement lens, assuming United’s medical staff had spares in their bag.
Regardless, McTominay once again demonstrated his worth in United’s big games away from home, proving effective in screening the Red Devils defence alongside Fred.
Solskjaer also offered a glowing appraisal of Tuanzebe, who showed maturity beyond his years in what was his first appearance in 10 months.
Tuanzebe twice shrugged off Mbappe in one-on-one duels with the forward during an eye-catching display as part of United’s three-man defence.
“Axel did fantastic,” said Solskjaer.
“He’s been out since the game against Colchester, 10 months or something? To put up a performance like this against Neymar and Mbappe, I have to say he almost surprised us as well.
“We know he’s a good player but on a night like this, he was fantastic. We might see this system again, of course, we have had some good games in it.”