Rasmus Hojlund went out of his way to wind up Aston Villa supporters while being substituted late on in Manchester United’s vital 2-1 win at Villa Park. Douglas Luiz was straight on the scene to furiously confront the Red Devils star after he made a gesture towards the crowd.
Hojlund, who celebrated his 21st birthday last week, went into the meeting with Villa full of confidence after netting in four consecutive games. Sure enough, the Dane made it five in five by prodding in from close range with fewer than 17 minutes on the clock.
Luiz pulled Villa level midway through the second half, with the sides looking destined to share the spoils until Scott McTominay headed in an 86th-minute winner to give United a major boost in their quest for Champions League qualification.
Hojlund received stick from the Villa faithful while slowly making his way off the pitch in second-half stoppage time, to which he responded by holding up two fingers on his right hand and one on his left to indicate the scoreline.
Unsurprisingly, the supporters weren’t best pleased, with some jumping out of their seats to berate the United striker. Luiz also got in on the act, approaching Hojlund angrily and grabbing him by the shirt as part of an angry exchange between the pair.
With only a few minutes left for United to hold on, Hojlund ended up having the last laugh as his side put three valuable points on the board to close the gap on fifth-placed Villa.
The Red Devils are still six points off the top four, but after a turbulent start to the season, manager Erik ten Hag has finally masterminded a string of consistent performance. United have now won four matches on the spin – their longest streak of the campaign – and they have not tasted defeat in any competition so far in 2024.
Harry Maguire played his part after setting up Hojlund’s opening goal in the West Midlands, although he is keen to bank results in less dramatic fashion over the coming weeks. “We allowed them back in and we conceded from a set-play which really disappointing at a place like this,” he told Sky Sports after the final whistle.
“We showed great spirit and fight to come back and Scott is the match-winner again. It’s an amazing feeling but we’d like to make it a little more easy for ourselves.
“Scott has come on in numerous games this year and made the difference for us. We had to dig deep in the second half think we did in the end and deserved the win.”