Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for matchwinner Paul Pogba as Manchester United ended a nine-year hoodoo at Burnley on Tuesday night.
United dominated a contest in which the home side failed to register a single effort on target until stoppage time.
However, they were struggling to make a breakthrough until Marcus Rashford picked Pogba out with an excellent cross to the edge of the area.
The Frenchman’s connection was perfect, although it took a deflection off Matthew Lowton before flying past a helpless Nick Pope.
Although Burnley had three decent chances in a frantic ending, United secured the win to head the table after 17 games.
It is the first time that has happened this many games into the season since December 2012, in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final, title-winning campaign.
Solskjaer told Sky Sports after the game: “When you get three points in the Premier League it makes you smile. It was a hard-fought three points, it always is up here.
“Burnley are so well organised and there’s not many spaces but we did look at some of them – great cross for the goal, very well executed finish. We could’ve had a few more to calm the nerves but we did it the hard way.”
On Pogba’s performance, the Red Devils boss added: “I’ve always said Paul [Pogba] is a big player for us. He’s a good character in the dressing room, he’s someone the lads look to, he’s a world champion.
“We’re seeing the best of Paul at the moment – he’s been injured and he’s had Covid. So it’s natural to need to get back to fitness after that.”
Pogba comes to the party
Matchwinner Pogba admitted United had to work hard for their victory, adding: “You can see that the game was going both ways, it’s very hard to play here. They have a style of play, very strong and we knew it would be difficult.
“We had to keep our heads calm. Just focus on ourselves and hope the goal would come and it did come. It was a great performance from everyone, good focus.
“Always happy when I win – today we won and I’m happy we play well. Still a long way to go and we have big games to go so we have to focus on that.”
The France star also lamented Harry Maguire’s disallowed first-half header, in what was a tight contest.
“It was a goal for sure – I don’t know what happened. It was a beautiful goal and the referee decided that it was not.
“It’s a strange decision but we got the result we wanted so we’re happy.”