Following Jose Mourinho's sacking in the week, an air of cautious optimism had returned to the Man Utd fanbase, with many quietly hoping interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first game against his former club Cardiff could be the catalyst to turn around a toxic season. However, few could have dreamed for what transpired on Saturday afternoon in Wales.
United raced out to an early lead thanks to Marcus Rashford's 35-yard free kick, and soon afterwards made it 2-0 thanks to a deflected Ander Herrera strike from long range. Cardiff were handed a lifeline as Victor Camarasa dispatched a penalty to get back to within a goal of the lead. However, the rampant visitors made it 3-1 just three minutes later in superb fashion.
United never looked back in the second half, and Lingard added a fourth from the penalty spot just 12 minutes into the second half before getting United's fifth goal in injury time to secure a 5-1 win.
It was a fantastic display from a Manchester United side (read our full match report here), who have been low on confidence in recent times. Under Solksjaer, at least against Cardiff they played with an attacking verve and freedom that resembled the United of old
Here's how fans raced to Twitter to express their delight at the performance.
Give Ole a life time contract, liquid football is back at Man Utd. Love it.— Devils of United (@DevilsOfUnited) December 22, 2018
Winning was important but more than that it was the way how we won the march. Being ruthless , is a stamp of Champions and that's how we played today. Thanks OLE !!!— Naveen Kumar Singh (@Na7vs) December 22, 2018
Very proud of the lads. They out their heart and soul in this performance. Great start by Olé and Co.— The United Link 🏆 (@TheUnitedLink) December 22, 2018
So this is what football looks like?— Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) December 22, 2018
It was a day to remember for the travelling fans as they watched their side score their quickest goal of the season, saw their side out-run their opposition for the first time this campaign and (most remarkably) watched their team scored five goals in a Premier League game for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013!
Manchester United never scored more than four goals in a game during Jose Mourinho's 144 matches in charge.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) December 22, 2018
They have done it in their first game after his sacking.
United have scored 10 goals in Mike Phelan's last two PL games on their bench. El Fenomeno.— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) December 22, 2018
If a manager's first game is a sign of things to come, then the omens look great time for United fans once again. Even though it was Solskjaer's first game and he and United will face much tougher tests than Cardiff, there already looked to be a clear difference in the way United played - a confidence, urgency and discipline that had been desperately missing under Mourinho.