LONDON: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his Manchester United players after they looked transformed when handing him the perfect start as interim manager with a 5-1 win at Cardiff.

United hit five goals for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge and United’s players out-ran the opposition for the first time this season as Solskjaer hit the ground running.

The 45-year-old took over earlier this week after Jose Mourinho was sacked on Tuesday following United’s poor start to the Premier League season.

Solskjaer said: “Football is easy if you’ve got good players. They are such a great bunch of players and the quality is just unbelievable.

“I arrived Wednesday night so I have had Thursday and Friday (with the players) to be fair but I asked them to enjoy the football, smile, go forward, just play, just be Man United.

“It has been a tough week for them. It has been a tough week for me to be fair – even though it was enjoyable, it has been loads of things for us swirling around the head. So they’ve responded fantastically.”

Marcus Rashford wasted little time in easing any nerves for the Norwegian by putting the visitors in front with a third-minute free-kick from 25 yards.

Rashford has had a hand in more Premier League goals this season than any other Manchester United player (9 – four goals and five assists).

Solskjaer – who spent nine months in charge of Cardiff in 2014, overseeing their relegation to the Championship – was celebrating again when Ander Herrera’s shot deflected in after 29 minutes.

Rashford was then deemed to have handled in the box and Victor Camarasa superbly converted the resulting penalty for Cardiff in the 38th minute.

The Red Devils turned on the style to restore their two-goal advantage four minutes before the break, though, as Anthony Martial rounded off a brilliant team move.

Jesse Lingard added to their lead in the 57th minute from the spot after being fouled in the area and the England international completed the rout in the closing stages with his second goal.

The Cardiff City Stadium result is the first time United have scored five goals in the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge, and it keeps Solskjaer’s side in sixth place.

United scored five or more times in a Premier League game for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final match in charge, in May 2013 against West Brom (5-5).

Anthony Martial has been directly involved in 70 goals for Manchester United in all competitions (45 goals, 25 assists); the most of any player for the club since his debut in September 2015.

He was making his 100th United appearance in the Premier League, the fourth Frenchman to reach this tally for the club after Eric Cantona, Mikael Silvestre and Patrice Evra.

Martial’s goal was the 500th in the Premier League this season.