Scott McTominay loves working with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and is determined to help the under-fire Manchester United manager kick on with Manchester City looming large.
This weekend’s trip to the Etihad Stadium comes on the back of a morale-boosting win against Tottenham on Wednesday, when Jose Mourinho returned to Old Trafford touchline for the first time since being sacked last December.
The Portuguese headed back to United at a time when pressure was building on successor Solskjaer, with the club’s worst start to a season in 31 years compounded by talk that losses to Spurs and City could see him out of the job.
But the 1999 treble hero leads his side to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening with renewed confidence, having overseen a deserved 2-1 win against Tottenham thanks to a Marcus Rashford brace.
“I don’t read too much into what gets said online or in the press or different things like that,” McTominay said of the speculation around Solskjaer that dominated the build-up to Wednesday’s match.
“There’s two managers out there who have represented this football club. One currently is.
“Obviously it’s our duty as players to go out there and do our utmost best for him and hopefully we can (put on performances for him) because we love him. We love him as a group as well.
“So hopefully we can start putting in performances that we’ve deserved.
“And some of the points we’ve missed out on this year have not represented the level of performance as well, so hopefully we can keep pushing forward now as well.”
Wednesday’s victory certainly provided a timely shot in the arm, as did the performance after stuttering to draws with promoted Sheffield United and Aston Villa – matches McTominay missed through an ankle injury
“That was disappointing to watch two or three games from the sidelines,” the in-form midfielder said.
“Whenever I am watching, I am just desperate to be on the pitch as well.
“It was a brilliant atmosphere today.
“Some of the skills and tricks and some of our football in the first half, and some in the second half as well, was absolutely scintillating stuff and it was a pleasure to be a part of.
“Of course they’re always going to have opportunities and different chances in games like that.
“They’ve got some world-class players up there in the forward line, so for us it’s just about keeping level-headed now.
“We take it a game at a time and we look forward to Man City on Saturday as well, and hopefully we can keep pushing forwards after that as well.”
Solskjaer reiterated to his players just how good the first half was after a win that Rashford’s man-of-the-match display was crucial to.
Put to McTominay that the 22-year-old is difficult to contain when in such form, he told MUTV: “Difficult? It’s impossible sometimes when you see some of the stuff that he’s doing there.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to watch a player who is a young kid from Manchester, coming up and doing some of the things that he’s doing.
“It’s a pleasure to watch and I just want to be a part of it as well.”
Now the focus is on “putting in a real performance” at City, where returning McTominay heads to feeling fit and ready to go again.
“I try to look after myself as best I can,” he said.
“I trained yesterday for the first time and then played today, so I feel good. I’m only 22, so I should be fine!”