LEICESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United beat Leicester 1-0 on Thursday for its third straight Premier League win, with Cristiano Ronaldo again making only a late appearance off the bench.
Jadon Sancho finished off the break with the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute as the United players overcame Liverpool and Southampton to reverse their early season slump.
“It’s another step,” said United manager Eric Ten Hague.
It was just 10 days ago that United went into a home game against Liverpool to open the season after back-to-back defeats to raise doubts about the fitness of Ten Hague – the coach recently hired from Ajax – and his New signatures. .
Those doubts have largely been dispelled, with United playing with more confidence and the additions of Casemiro – a second-half substitute like Ronaldo – and Anthony – absent after completing his move from Ajax on Thursday – bolstering the squad. . Clean pages on the back are also a big plus.
Ronaldo may yet play a significant part this season after failing to secure a move in the transfer market which closed shortly after the full-time whistle. He came on in the 68th minute and looked lively, an acrobatic bicycle kick flying just wide.
“Once we get Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro fit, it’s going to get even better,” Ten Hague said. “We don’t just need a team, we need a team.”
In the end, Sancho’s goal separated the teams and it came after United claimed possession following a Leicester goal kick. Bruno Fernandes found Marcus Rashford in a central position and he slipped in Sancho who beat goalkeeper Danny Ward and slotted the ball into an empty net.
Leicester are now a Premier League club in crisis, with just one point from their first five games and two points adrift in last place. The pressure is mounting on their manager, Brendan Rodgers, who lamented after the game about the club’s failure to strengthen the squad in the summer transfer window.
Leicester have only signed one foreign player, undrafted defender Wout Foss from French club Reims, and he only arrived on deadline day to fill the gap left by the departure of Wesley Fofana to Chelsea.
“With all due respect,” Rodgers said, “we didn’t get the help in the market that this team needed.”
The hosts only once seriously threatened United goalkeeper David de Gea and that was from a free-kick, which James Maddison beat on the defensive wall and saved well with one hand. James Justin headed over in stoppage time with Leicester’s next good chance.
United will face a big challenge on Sunday, when Arsenal – with its 100 per cent record – visit Old Trafford.
“It’s a good test to see where we are,” Ten Hague said.