Man United News and Notes: Lingard, Fernandes, Solskjaer

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Remember back in late 2019 (which seems like ancient history now) and a lot of United fans were calling for the head of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? Do you recall the festive period, when the Red Devils were idling in mid-table and not even in Europa League qualification position?

How about late January, when the club had just lost to Burnley and Bruno Fernandes hadn’t arrived yet? At that point, the side were a whopping 14 points below where they finished in the table today- third. A 2-0 Championship Sunday win at Leicester City means that United have earned a top four finish, and with it a place back in next season’s UEFA Champions League. The party is on!

United remains undefeated in league play since Fernandes’ arrival, a stretch of 14 games and counting.

“It’s been a massive achievement by players and staff,” Solskjaer said of UCL qualification.

“The staff are incredible. We did have a chat with everyone this morning that no matter what happens we’ve come so far as a team — built a culture. We’re very proud of our efforts.”

“If I’m getting criticised it makes me stronger and believe more in what I’m doing,” Solskjaer continued.

“Please don’t praise me too much. Third with this team has been a massive achievement by everyone.”

The game winner came via Fernandes himself, who converted a penatly kick in the 71′.

“We have to admit he [Fernandes] has come in and had a massive impact,” the Norwegian added. “Scoring goals, creating goals and his enthusiasm and mentality around the place has helped. He’s stepped up and slotted away the penalty.”

To make 2019-20 even weirder, it was Jesse Lingard, yes really, who scored the final goal of the Premier League season (90’+8′) today. His tap-in meant that he achieved his first scoring strike in his last 34 league appearances. It’s worth noting that Lingard also scored the last goal of the Louis van Gaal era and the first of the Jose Mourinho regime.

The match was already decided by the time he put the ball in net, but this moment was decisive in other ways. Take a look:

You really got to feel for that bettor. Ouch! And if this is indeed the final game for Lingard in a United shirt, at least he went out with a bang. And his last goal before today was…Solskjaer’s very first game in charge.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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