Cavani was United’s super sub, a role his manager Solskjaer performed so often during his United playing career, scoring twice and setting up the Bruno Fernandes goal that kick-started his side’s fightback from 2-0 down following his half-time introduction.
Initially, Cavani was not ready for the start of the second half and still changing his boots when the action resumed after the break, earning a tongue-in-cheek ticking off from his manager.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Man United’s hero at Southampton Edinson Cavani (above)
Cavani scored twice in the final 15 minutes to give United a 3-2 comeback win at St Mary’s
But Solskjaer ended the afternoon saluting the experienced striker’s know-how and quality.
Solskjaer said: ‘He reminds me of Andy with his movement in the box. He is so sharp, clever, great timing and, I’ve got to say, he has not learned off me because I was ready when the game started or the second half started. I always had my boots tied and with the right studs on. He made us wait a little bit too long for my liking.’
Only one of Cavani’s eight appearances for United since his free transfer arrival on deadline day has been from the start.
Though in the limited time he has had his movement, enthusiasm, work-rate have stood out.
It looked like it was going to be a difficult day for Solskjaer, whose side went 2-0 down
But half-time substitute Cavani (left) spared Solskjaer (right)’s blushes on the south coast
Solskjaer had made no secret of his desire to add a frontman with the natural instinct to be in the right place at the right time and capable of scoring the simple striker’s goals to complement his attack.
He now has one in the Uruguayan, 33, and added: ‘Sometimes when we’ve scored goals it’s had to be the perfect goal. We almost walk it in, there’s an extra pass or great skill or something.
‘Edinson he’s been around the block, he’s scored so many goals, played football for so long, he’s been between those posts so many times so he knows. He’s seen this game before.
‘He’s seen that cross before. He knows exactly what moment to move and he’s best friend in the box is what Sir Alex always used to tell me “your best friend in the box is space” and he gets into that space at the perfect time.
Solskjaer compared Cavani (above) to Andy Cole due to his movement in the penalty box
Cole (above) scored 121 goals in 275 appearances for United between 1995 and 2001
‘He’s got all the attributes of a top class footballer and human being. He’s had a great career, scored goals wherever he has been. Is so professional, meticulous with his preparation, with his recovery, what he does at meal times, before the game during the game so I was surprised that he didn’t have his boots ready when the second half started but also to have a focal point in the box is important for us. We’ve not really had that since Romelu left.’
Solskjaer turned to Cavani with United trailing to Jan Bednarek’s header and James Ward-Prowse’s trademark free-kick.
In trying to save the latter David De Gea crashed against the post, had to come off at the break with a knee injury and was replaced by Dean Henderson, handed a long-awaited Premier League debut.
Manchester United will assess the fitness of David de Gea who was injured at Southampton
De Gea clattered into his post while trying to save James Ward-Prowse’s successful free-kick
De Gea will have a scan on his knee on Monday ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
United have now won all four Premier League away games this season after going behind.
Solskjaer said: ‘That’s very important and a trait that Man United always should have. Never give up, never give in.
‘I don’t know how many times I was on the pitch and we came back and won games towards the end.
‘We had a manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] who never, ever allows anyone to give up and that’s one of my values.’
Solskjaer claimed his side showed a bit of Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘never-say-die’ spirit
Hasenhuttl saw his side’s impressive, seven-game unbeaten run come to an end but he insisted: ‘I don’t want people’s head going down.
‘When you hear them celebrating in their dressing room then you know what you have done today and how tough an opponent you have been because they were celebrating like they’d won the Premier League.
‘That’s the best thing for me because it’s definitely statement if they are celebrating like this because it was a tough game.
‘They had to play the best they can to win against us and we can be proud of what we’ve done today definitely.’