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Solskjaer's Manchester United finally have strength in depth

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester United’s 5-0 rout of Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday showed that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally has the strength in depth that was sorely missing last season.

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The result against last season’s semi-finalists was all the more impressive given that Solskjaer gave key players a rest from the starting line-up and fielded an untested midfield combination.

Marcus Rashford, who struck three times after coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute, was allowed to start on the bench given the confidence Solskjaer now has in Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, who both scored, in his attack.

Bruno Fernandes was held back for the second half as well with new signing Donny van de Beek given his first start outside of the EFL Cup.

Paul Pogba has not started since the 6-1 home defeat by Tottenham, but was recalled along with Nemanja Matic.

It was not until Fernandes and Rashford were on the field that United ran away with the game but as Solskjaer noted, the basis had been built without them.

“Marcus Rashford came on and did well but the groundwork was there from the team, that’s what you want that from the subs. What a shift they put in. Leipzig are a high press, the intensity, so we had to dig deep,” he said.

“We had to rest a few because the season is relentless, so we used the squad. This group is coming together. The more quality and spirit you have the more you get the performance.”

There was even a cameo appearance for new signing Edinson Cavani, who had a goal disallowed in the latter stages, but after being forced to over-play a number of players last term, Solskjaer can now rotate like other big clubs.

“We made some changes today because of (Arsenal on) Sunday as you have to be ready for that. We need to pick up points,” the Norwegian said.

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond