Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Luke Shaw was a doubt to play for Manchester United at City after he was named in their starting line-up.
Shaw scored United’s second – and his first Premier League goal since August 2018 – in their uplifting 2-0 win over champions-elect City at The Etihad with a superb solo strike in the 50th minute.
The 25-year-old is enjoying arguably the finest season of his career but United were uncertain whether Shaw would be able to start against City until after the warm-up. Solskjaer told Alex Telles to prepare to come on but Shaw stayed on for the full 90 minutes.
“Absolutely incredible,” Solskjaer beamed. “He was a massive doubt until after the warm-up, he needed the warm-up to be cleared to play.
“Luke’s performance was top. He’s aggressive, hard to play one against one and when he goes forward on those runs he’s unstoppable. He’s improved so much, he’s improving all the time and we’re delighted for him.”
United have trimmed City’s advantage at the summit to 11 points with 10 games left and United squandered an eight-point lead with six games to play in 2012, when City won the title on goal difference.
The chances of a City collapse still seem remote but United are unbeaten in their last four league fixtures against Pep Guardiola’s side and Solskjaer felt the experience of last season’s 2-1 win at The Etihad stood them in good stead.
“We have to draw on previous good experiences and how did that feel,” he added. “We knew we had to suffer, we suffered a lot, they worked their nuts off, I think experience of having gone through that has helped us.
“Every team, every game, creates problems. You have to create problems for them, every team plays differently. Different players, different threats.
“Of course, you’d like to see a Man United team on the break, creating spaces like this every game, but it just doesn’t happen like this.
“Every game is different and we had to defend more than normal, we did it. This game looked very much like last Sunday against Chelsea, maybe the difference is we get the penalty we deserved. If we got the one last week it’s a different type of game and the narrative this week has been we can’t score. So it’s the margins as well.”