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united 5 leeds 1 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Bruno Fernandes react as Man United hammer Leeds


Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their side's fourth goal and his hat-trick. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images,)

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their side's fourth goal and his hat-trick. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images,)

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their side's fourth goal and his hat-trick. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images,)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried to dampen down expectations after this side served up a sensational opening day drubbing of Leeds at Old Trafford.

United enjoyed a dream start to the season as Bruno Fernandes’ hat-trick rocked rivals Leeds after Raphael Varane was paraded in front of Old Trafford’s first full house in 17 months.

The atmosphere was crackling as the ground welcomed a sell-out crowd for Saturday’s Premier League clash and the din increased several notches when their new signing was introduced before kick-off.

Varane’s arrival from Real Madrid was followed by a thrilling United display, with Fernandes’ treble complemented by goals from Mason Greenwood and Fred.

Fernandes put Solskjaer’s men ahead at the break, only for Luke Ayling’s stunner to level things for Marcelo Bielsa’s men early in the second half.

But the Leeds right-back’s first Premier League goal proved a mere footnote as the visitors unravelled spectacularly.

Greenwood scored smartly from an exquisite Pogba pass, before a hopeful Fernandes effort was adjudged to have crossed the line and he then completed his hat-trick with an unerring finish.

Fred added a fifth as Pogba provided his fourth assist of an afternoon when Solskjaer’s name echoed around a buzzing Old Trafford.

“I couldn’t have asked for more,” declared a beaming Solskjaer. “You’re always a bit worried before the first game. The sessions have been geared just to this match, so it’s been a fantastic day to perform like this.

“When you see the fans driving to the stadium. You get the butterflies again. Suddenly it’s a game that matters.

“We felt extra responsibility because it’s been so long without them. They mean so much to us. To have that love from the fans is so important.”

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Pogba and Fernandes were United’s star performers with four goals for the former and three goals for the latter, but Solskjaer insisted this was a team triumph.

“Of course when Bruno scores three and Paul gets four assists, the headlines are going to be about them two, but for me it’s about the team,” he added.

“Those two can produce the big moments because of what’s around them.”

The roars echoing around Old Trafford sent a shiver down the spine and after enduring so many miserable occasions watching football played before empty stands, the appetite to celebrate each goal was insatiable.

“Having the fans back gave them this joy and against a big rival like Leeds,” declared Fernandes.

“Today was almost a perfect day, we conceded one goal but whatever we won and that is the moment important.

“I’m really happy for all the fans, all the fans in the entire world of football. They have the chance to see their clubs and enjoy the games.

“It’s important for society, they deserve this. They deserve some freedom because for almost two years, it has been tough for everyone.

“We have to perform better all the time. Now this game is gone and from now we have to think game by game.

“The biggest contender for us for the title is (next opponent) Southampton because if we win against then we are one step closer to winning something and if we lose to them we are one step further.

“The joy is really good (for a hat-trick). I will call my wife and hear my kids saying ‘the ball is coming home’.

“It is unbelievable, you cannot describe this feeling. For me, the most important thing is to make my family proud of what I am doing.”

The euphoria Fernandes exuded after every goal was fuelled by the beautiful noise created by spectators who have waited so long to return to their seats at Old Trafford.

This was an occasion that stirred emotions all the more given everything we have lived through collectively in the last 18 months, with Leeds boss Bielsa offering no excuses for his side’s display.

“The concession of three goals in such a short space of time overcame us,” said the veteran tactician.

“To have lost the way we lost can’t be described as just a blip. We have to do better.”

Leeds will lick their wounds and try to bounce back, but this performance suggests United’s ambitions should have no boundaries this season.

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