Edinson Cavani’s late goal against Aston Villa equalled a Manchester United record – and showed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has something that was highly prized by Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Uruguayan striker had replaced Mason Greenwood midway through the second half, with Solskjaer looking to keep players fresh amid a hectic schedule of three games in five days.
Cavani’s goal showcased his deadly finishing ability and his incisive movement as he ran onto a Marcus Rashford cross to nod past Emiliano Martinez.
And it also equalled a United record for the most Premier League goals scored as a substitute in a single season – a mark previously set Javier Hernandez and the manager himself.
Cavani has now scored five goals from the bench in the top flight this term – equalling the tally set by Hernandez during the 2010/11 season and Solskjaer during the 1998/99 treble-winning campaign.
That season, of course, Solskjaer scored one of the most famous ‘super sub’ goals of all time – netting winner in the third minute of injury time to give United a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the the Champions League final at the Nou Camp.
The manager forged a career out of making an impact from the bench, becoming a crucial player for Ferguson during 11 seasons at Old Trafford despite competing with strikers of the calibre of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
It was a quality much appreciated by Ferguson, who knew he had options he could rely on when he needed to change the game during two decades of dominance in the Premier League.
And Solskjaer clearly appreciates the qualities offered by Cavani, whose 15 goals in all competitions this season make him United’s third highest scorer behind Bruno Fernandes and Rashford.
“We’re getting to learn Edinson and hopefully we can get to use him more next season,” said the Red Devils boss after Sunday’s game, referring to the uncertainty over whether Cavani will still be at the club beyond the summer.
Cavani’s goal on Sunday was his eighth in his last seven games, after Greenwood had given United the lead with the teenager’s seventh strike in 10 matches.
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