CARDIFF, United Kingdom (REUTERS) - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoyed a dream start as Manchester United's interim manager as his side turned on the style to thrash his former club Cardiff City 5-1 in the Premier League on Saturday (Dec 22).
Goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial and two from Jesse Lingard gave United an emphatic and a much-needed victory in the Norweigan's first game in charge.
It was the first time United had scored five since Alex Ferguson's last game in charge in May 2013.
Solskjaer, handed control after this week's sacking of Jose Mourinho, spent a miserable nine months at Cardiff in 2014, getting them relegated from the top-flight.
However, he was quickly celebrating on his return to the Welsh capital when Rashford scored with a fiercely-struck free kick from distance after three minutes.
United doubled their lead before the half hour mark. Herrera was given time to unleash a right-footed shot from about 25 yards out which deflected off the head of Greg Cunningham and over the hand of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
Cardiff got a lifeline before halftime, however, after Rashford gave away a penalty for handball and Victor Camarasa sent the spot kick into the top left corner for only his second goal of the season.
Two minutes later, Martial started and finished a brilliant quick passing move to weave into the box and restore United's two goal cushion.
After the break, Cardiff defender Sol Bamba clumsily took down Lingard in the box and the forward got back to his feet to put resulting spot kick to Etheridge's right.
Another quick passing move from United set up Lingard to round the keeper and score in the 90th minute to put the seal on an emphatic win.
The result and the manner of United's play, with Paul Pogba restored to the lineup, lifted the mood after United's worst start for 28 years. They moved back up to sixth having briefly been displaced by Watford.
"Football is easy if you have good players. This is such a great group of players. The quality is just unbelievable," Solskjaer told BT Sport.
"It's been a tough week... it's been loads of things swirling around their heads so the players have responded brilliantly."
Neil Warnock's Cardiff, meanwhile, remain 17th and just two points above the relegation zone.
"I thought we started well, even at 2-1 down I thought we had a chance but it's not a penalty is it, dear me. But you can't blame the referee," Warnock said.
"It's very disappointing, but if you'd have told me at the beginning of the season we wouldn't be in the bottom three at Christmas I would have snapped your hand off. So we've got to take the positives now."