Ander Herrera has praised the tactical gameplan that was prepared by Manchester United caretaker manager Old Gunnar Solskjaer and his assistants at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Marcus Rashford scored the only goal to earn an important 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, by latching onto a magnificent long ball from the talismanic Paul Pogba in midfield.
Speaking to us after the final whistle, a jubilant Herrera revealed the players had been instructed to switch the play at pace due to the shape of the Spurs midfield – which worked a treat for the goal!
“The manager told us that at the beginning of the game it would be difficult to make short passes,” Ander explained. “He told us that it would be easier for us to switch the play and to look – almost without looking – to the other side of the pitch to switch the ball, because that is where we were going to find spaces.
“We scored like that, so thank you to the game plan as well.”
After taking a 1-0 lead into the half-time break, the Reds started the second half with an ambition to double the lead and almost did so, with Pogba testing goalkeeper Hugo Lloris on three occasions.
Tottenham then began to control the game and created several opportunities of their own, although the home side could not find an equaliser they so desperately craved – partly because of a resolute defensive performance from United, but also due to David De Gea making 11 saves in total.
“It was fantastic,” Herrera reflected. “When you have the combination between the talent we have, the effort everyone made and the best goalkeeper in the world, these kinds of things can happen.
“We have to be fair with ourselves and say the draw probably would have been fair. But I think we deserve these kind of things because we are working so hard, we are believing, we are following the plan that the manager and his assistants give us, and we have the number one in the goal.”
Expanding, Herrera continued: “Until the minute 60 we could have been winning 2-0, but we didn’t because we missed a couple of chances.
“After that it was David, it was David! He is the number one. I have never seen something like this. It is something terrific, as you say. The only thing we can do is enjoy David and enjoy the attacking players we have, because they are doing amazing work. They have so much talent. The other players, we will work hard for them and try to keep winning games.”
Solskjaer has now overseen six wins from his opening six matches and no other boss in United history has achieved that record. Herrera was not aware of that impressive statistic when told and although he agreed it was a notable achievement, he is keen to look at the bigger picture.
“We are still sixth, so let’s keep our feet on the floor, let’s try to beat Brighton and be humble,” he said. “We didn’t start the league very well so we still have a long way to work to reach the top four.”