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Alex Ferguson talks to the BBC's John Motson
"It was a marvellous performance"
 real 28k

The BBC's John Murray reports from Old Trafford

 real 28k

Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 18:56 GMT
Solskjaer stuns moody Blues
Soslk Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is congratulated by his teammates

Man Utd 5-1 Everton

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blasted Manchester United back to the top of the Premiership with two goals either side of the break against Everton.

Match Facts
7 mins: Francis Jeffers opens the scoring
26 mins: Dennis Irwin equalises from the spot
29 mins: Solskjaer adds his first
43 mins: Solskjaer drives his shot past Gerrard
52 mins: Solskjaer heads in his hatrick
58 mins: Solskjaer converts his fourth thanks to Ryan Giggs
In a scintillating clash, Solskjaer tore the Everton defence apart after the visitors had taken an early lead through a fine Francis Jeffers strike.

Mark Bosnich proved United's only casualty, hobbling off early in the opening half to be replaced by Raimond van der Gouw.

Having returned from Japan just days earlier, United could not have done more to bury suggestions that many of the squad were suffering from jetlag.

After an early miss from Solskjaer, the treble winners controlled the game at will, despite a shaky start.

With just minutes on the clock, Everton charged upfield and were instantly rewarded.


I actually believe that after watching that display, the game in Japan helped them
Sir Alex Ferguson
John Collins sent Unsworth into space and Jeffers met the low cross to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.

With David Beckham, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole all on the bench, the goal was the perfect start for the visitors.

But they were in trouble after 26 minutes when Richard Dunne handled a right-wing cross.

The referee had little option but to point to the spot and Irwin stepped up to lash home the penalty.

The goal marked the beginning of the end for Everton as their promising start quickly turned into an Old Trafford nightmare.

s Solskjaer has given Alex Ferguson a new selection problem
Everton continually struggled to maintain possession. United, in contrast, were in superb form despite the recent travels, with Teddy Sheringham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes finding Solskjaer at every opportunity.

It was textbook football of the very highest quality and the Norwegian striker proved the perfect choice to punish Walter Smith's side.

Solskjaer's first came via a superb long ball from Scholes and although Gerrard did well to block, the ball spun off his arms and rolled agonisingly inside the post.


I can't imagine any worse defending unless I think back to the Boys Brigade
Walter Smith
United never looked back. Sheringham and Solskjaer began to cut through the Everton defence with some fine inter-passing and three minutes from the break came Solskjaer's second.

Again Scholes was the provider, sending Solskjaer clear of Weir before the Scandinavian bobbled his shot past the outstretched Gerrard.

Red rout

After the break, United made it immediately clear they were not prepared to sit on their lead.

Giggs started with a typically powerful run, jinking past Dunne and almost forcing himself through a packed defence.

A minute later Everton were punished for woeful marking, and again Solskjaer profited.

Irwin Dennis Irwin plays the ball forward to Ryan Giggs
Irwin's ball came in from the left, Solskjaer found himself in space and guided his header into the bottom corner to complete his hat-trick.

It was difficult viewing for the Everton fans and with so much possession it was not long before United scored again.

Dunne gave the ball away criminally to Giggs after 57 minutes and the Welshman saw his initial shot bounce off a defender into the path of Solskjaer who stabbed home his fourth from five yards.

With five goals already conceded, Everton opted to play with a back five and brought on two defenders in Alex Cleland and Michael Ball.

It was clearly a case of damage limitation and it seemed to work. The visitors held out for the final quarter, but the game undoubtedly belonged to Solskjaer.

Teams:

Man Utd: Bosnich, G. Neville, Stam, Silvestre, Irwin, Scholes, Butt, Keane, Giggs, Sheringham, Solskjaer. Subs: Van Der Gouw, P. Neville, Beckham, Yorke, Cole.

Everton: Gerrard, Dunne, Weir, Gough, Unsworth, Barmby, Xavier, Collins, Pembridge, Jeffers, Campbell. Subs: Cleland, Ball, Jevons, Grant, Simonsen.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)
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See also:
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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.