Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed the “exceptional” performance of his team after they thrashed Brighton 3-0 in Premier League on Tuesday at the empty Falmer Stadium. Solskjaer said the Red Devils were confident throughout the match and displayed great quality.

“Oh, I rate this performance highly. Fantastic from the word go. The boys were full of confidence and quality. We played some exceptional stuff. It’s always hard to play against Brighton, Graham’s teams keep the ball well, but I thought we pressed them well from the front – Anthony, Marcus, Mason, Bruno showed intensity and the intent. We spoke about intent before the game, on and off the ball, and when we had it, we tried to create and we did create with some fantastic goals,” Solskjaer was quoted as saying on the official website of Manchester United.

Bruno Fernandes continued his dream run in a United shirt as he put on a masterclass to help his team extend their unbeaten streak to 15 matches. Fernandes scored twice in either half of the match to take the Red Devils in a touching distance of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Speaking about the Portuguese, Solskjaer said, “I knew there was a leader there, a winner and we knew we needed that type of player. Fair play and well done to the club for making the deal happen. It was hard because of course you [Sporting Lisbon] don’t want to sell your best player and he’s come in and been fantastic. His second goal was good defending on a set-play and we know we’ve got pace and we wanted to counter quickly. It was a great pass by Nemanja, a great cross from Mason and fantastically finished by Bruno so I’m very, very happy with all the goals.”

Mason Greenwood, who had scored the opening goal of the night also earned praises from the Norwegian manager. “He played fantastically. He’s a special kid and we know that when he gets his face up and looks forward that he’s dangerous, but his hold-up play, general play and link-up play was great. I’d have been proud of that goal,” Solskjaer said.

Meanwhile, United now have 52 points from 32 matches, while Chelsea have 54 points from 31 matches. However, if the European ban of Manchester City remains, a fifth-place finish for United will hand them their return to the UEFA Champions League.

If United make it, the credit for much of their success should go to Fernandes who seems to have injected a transformation to the Old Trafford side. They have lost only one match since Fernandes’ arrival in January.

However, Solskjaer believes they have match winners across the squad. He said, “I think it’s very important that you have players who chip in. Of course Marcus and Anthony have got the majority of the goals – 19 each this year – but Bruno’s come in and done fantastic, Mason’s always chipping in with goals and we know Paul’s going to get some goals. I thought Scottie [McTominay] was close today, Dan [James] was close too and Odion’s come in and done well.”