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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 23:02 GMT
Man Utd thrash Derby
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and John O'Shea celebrate a goal by the Norwegian
Solskjaer celebrates a goal with defender John O'Shea
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Manchester United 5-0 Derby County

Manchester United cruised back to winning ways with a comfortable victory over struggling Derby on Wednesday.

Colin Todd's side had no answer to the waves of attacks mounted by the Premiership champions, who looked back to something like their old selves.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored twice, with Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Paul Scholes netting the others as United recorded their best win of the season.

Having lost their last three league matches the victory will come as a welcome relief to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The United manager still believes his side have an outside chance of claiming their third successive Premiership title, despite having already lost six games this season.


We thought there might be a backlash and we got it tonight
Colin Todd
Derby manager

The win moves United up to fifth place, three points off a Champions League qualifying slot and nine points behind the leaders Liverpool, who dropped two points at home to Fulham.

Derby's ninth defeat of the campaign leaves them stranded in the bottom three.

Once again David Beckham had to make do with a place on the bench, but it had little impact on the home team's attacking force.

United raced into a two-goal lead within the opening 10 minutes.

It was Solskjaer who opened the scoring after six minutes.

When Mikael Silvestre crossed into the area, the Norwegian controlled the ball with his first touch and then lashed it past Andy Oakes with his second.

Four minutes later it was 2-0 and this time Solskjaer played the part of creator.

He received the ball on the right of the Derby box and drove it across to the back post for Roy Keane to knock home his first goal of the season.

Manchester United's David Beckham was on the bench again
David Beckham was rested again

Juan Sebastian Veron tried for a third, but his free-kick from around 25 yards out was well held by Oakes.

Paul Scholes then missed a glorious chance to put United even further ahead.

Danny Higginbotham fouled Solskjaer on the right, for which the former-United defender was booked.

And when Veron whipped the ball into the middle, Scholes headed over from close in.

Just before the hour, Solskjaer claimed his second.

The Norwegian was on hand to pop home the ball after Oakes had spilled Van Nistelrooy's shot-cum-cross.

United promptly scored a fourth in the 63rd minute when Keane pulled the ball back for van Nistelrooy to score his 12th goal of the season.

Plagued by injuries to a number or defenders, Ferguson had deployed his 13th centre-half pairing of the season with Laurent Blanc and John O'Shea playing together.

But so tame were Derby that this new defensive partnership endured a practically trouble-free match, although Fabrizio Ravanelli did come close.

Late on Scholes wrapped up the scoring for United.


Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Blanc, O'Shea, Silvestre, Scholes, Keane, Veron, Butt, Solskjaer, van Nistelrooy. Subs: Carroll, Phil Neville, Beckham, Yorke, Irwin.

Derby: Oakes, Riggott, Grenet, Higginbotham, Mawene, Zavagno, Carbone, Ducrocq, Bolder, Christie, Ravanelli. Subs: Grant, Burton, Kinkladze, Murray, Boertien.

Referee: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Charlie Lambert
"Derby were outclassed"
Man Utd manager Alex Ferguson
"That's what we expect of the players"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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