If the Manchester derby was dull, Leeds' visit to Old Trafford was anything but.
The first three minutes alone were more eventful than the entire 90 that United and City produced last weekend. A Scott McTominay double made him the first player in Premier League history to score twice inside the first three minutes. It was just the beginning of a scintillating performance from the United midfielder in a highly entertaining 6-2 victory.
Manchester United moved third in the Premier League with a frenzied 6-2 victory over Leeds after a 90 minutes that resembled a basketball game at Old Trafford.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 20, 2020
McTominay's contributions didn't end with his two goals. He also assisted Daniel James' goal to make it the first time that McTominay has both scored and gotten an assist in the same game. He was energetic throughout and his running and finishing were a decisive factor in how United punished Leeds and had all but killed the game off in the first half.
Gary Neville was gushing in his praise of McTominay, describing him a combination of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane during the game. Speaking afterwards, McTominay was pleased with the team's performance but was not getting carried away with United's recent results.
It was a good game for me, I'm used to playing high tempo, high energy football matches and obviously for us as a team we played really well today and it was well deserved today, the six goals.
You just go on the pitch to do your job. You don't want to be getting too carried away, it's nice to score two goals and the team did a really good job. Obviously for us it's the next game. Every game is a cup final for us and the manager has firmly reiterated that to us. Last year we were far too inconsistent and we have been approaching games not in the right frame of mind, but I think this year, we have to be so dialled in, so focused in every way that we approach the game. For us today, I feel like it showed that and we've gone on a really good run. Good job we scored six at home today.
We don't look at the table. We don't have time for looking and seeing all the fixtures or the runs that we've got, we have to take every single game one by one and come the end of the season you never know where we can be.
⭐️ Man of the Match, @ManUtd’s Scott McTominay
Completed 25/29 passes
3 chances created, 1 assist
5 clearances (most in game)
3 shots, 2 goals
1st time both scored & assisted in a PL game pic.twitter.com/vAT1QuvfLd
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 20, 2020
Marcelo Biesla, one of the most innovative tactical minds in footballing history. Getting done by Scott McTominay suddenly deciding he's a footballer.
What a narrative twist.
— Carl Anka (@Ankaman616) December 20, 2020
Mctominay was a prime paul pogba today..#MUNLEE pic.twitter.com/fEGRQj37kk
— 𝕄𝕒𝕟𝕔𝕦𝕟𝕚𝕒𝕟 𝕊𝕨𝕒𝕘𝕘𝕖r🔰🐝 (@Rashyyfc) December 20, 2020
It was a standout performance for a player who has been quietly improving and positioning himself as a midfielder that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can rely on. With the seemingly transfer-bound Paul Pogba watching on from the bench, McTominay gave an all-action performance that will give United fans confidence that he is a player that can offer a strong base for the United midfield for years to come.
Roy Keane is someone who knows what is needed to drive a successful Man United midfield, and the Cork-man was full of praise for McTominay in the Sky Sports studio after the game.
He’s 24, he’s maturing, he’s a good shape, he’s played a lot of games at the top level. He’s played in one or two different roles for the national team. I even like his haircut, I think his haircut looks sharp. He needs to be thinking, can I pass to a forward more. We see a lot of teams who think about possession and tippy-tappy football, but for a midfielder, if the space is in front of you, just run.
It was the perfect game for him. He kept it simple and the kid’s maturing really well. He’ll need to improve more on his stats and goals, but his role in the team has generally been to protect a back four that is dodgy.
It was an eye-catching display from McTominay, who needs to add more goals and assists to his locker if he is to continue improving his all-round game. At 24 years of age, his work-rate and physical conditioning is clear for all to see, but it is an encouraging sign for United that his link up play with the likes of Fernandes in midfield is beginning to bear fruit.
The win leaves Man United in the strange position of sitting in third, five points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, despite the fact that this is only their second home league win so far this season. If they can put their Champions League disappointment behind them and maintain the performance level they showed against Leeds, then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has an opportunity to silence the doubters and get United back into a title race when they had seemingly been written off.
So @ManUtd are 3-0 up, will go joint 3rd if they win. If they win their game in hand they will be 2nd, 2pts off Liverpool. Jose has turned Spurs around, Frank doing great with Chelsea, but ManU are a shambles and Ole has to go?🤔 Media can be so influential in public opinion.
— Richie Hogan (@richiehogan8) December 20, 2020