The England international came off the bench with just over 20 minutes to go to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the 3-0 win, before scoring his side’s third goal with a composed finish.
Following the 5-0 capitulation against Liverpool last week, Solskjaer resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes and confirmed nine of the 11 starters.
Marcus Rashford came off the bench against Spurs before scoring Man United’s third goal
Edinson Cavani and Raphael Varane were the two exceptions, with the former joining Ronaldo up-front as United switched to a 3-5-2 formation. Hargreaves, however, suggested Rashford would have expected to start and was unhappy at being benched.
‘I think you could see that in his celebration, he was fuming,’ the former United and Bayern Munich midfielder told Premier League Productions.
‘But when two legends of the game are playing ahead of you it’s hard to complain in a sense.
‘He [Solskjaer] is never going to drop Ronaldo, he needed somebody else in there and Cavani was fabulous last season. He probably deserved to start sooner.’
Rashford has now scored three goals in four games since returning from injury
Owen Hagreaves believes the United striker was annoyed at being left out from the starting XI
Solskjaer’s decision paid off as Ronaldo and Cavani combined brilliantly to tear Spurs apart. The Portuguese opened the scoring with a superbly taken volley towards the end of the first half, before setting up the Uruguayan for United’s second.
While the combined age of United attacking was 70, the bench had a far more youthful look as it included 24-year-old Rashford along with Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood, who are 21 and 20 respectively.
Relying on experience over youthful exuberance, however, may have to be a price United have pay in the short-term, as they look to get back on track after a difficult run of form.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring against Spurs with a superb volley in the first half
The Portuguese has now scored four goals in seven Premier League appearances
Ronaldo set up Edinson Cavani for United’s second as the visitors eased to a much-needed win
‘Having Rashford and [Mason] Greenwood to come off the bench, as much as it will hurt them, maybe right now for the balance of the team,’ Hagreaves said.
‘They looked good today and Rashford will get goals coming off the bench, definitely.’
United remained fifth following their first win in the Premier League since September but closed the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool to three and five points respectively.
Solskjaer’s men could draw level with the former, whom they host at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactical changes paid off as United won 3-0 at Spurs on Saturday
Hargreaves was unsure whether Solskjaer would stick with the same XI against Man City
Asked whether he thought Solskjaer will stick with the same XI he picked against Spurs, Hargreaves replied:
‘The big question is they’ve got Manchester City at OId Trafford on the weekend.
‘You’re not going to have much of the ball and you’re going to be quite deep. They defend with seven then Bruno [Fernandes], Cavani and Ronaldo. Is that going to work against City?
‘We’ll see. But I think today was a big step forward.’