It presented the interim manager with three eminently winnable games against Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth - victories which Solskjaer duly collected in some style.
Solskjaer, a fans' favourite during his playing days with the Red Devils, has pledged to pass on some of the penalty box "nous" he displayed during his career and Rashford is grateful of the attention.
"It's such a great bunch of players, a fantastic atmosphere, but it's the next game, it's the next game, it's the next game and I'm doing my job as long as I'm here".
But the visit to St James's Park, at the end of a busy holiday period, was always going to be one that offered a far greater challenge to the "new-look" United.
The game remained goalless until Lukaku's introduction and the Belgium striker prodded home with his first touch after Martin Dubravka spilled Rashford's 64th-minute free-kick.More news: Nasa shows first photo of distant world from New Horizons probe
"But the spring in the counter-attack is there".
Although Lukaku scored when he came on against Bournemouth, Rashford should still keep his place up top, as he is a much more agile and skilful forward than the Belgian.
Should Lukaku keep it up however, there's no real reason why they both can't play in the same starting XI whether it's as a partnership up top or the youngster on the wing. Although this was not a vintage performance from Solskjaer's men, they did just enough to get all three points.
"You can't turn down the chance to join Manchester United as a player and it must be exactly the same as a manager". I'm just thinking about the next game because if you win four, you can win another four at this club.
Referee Andre Marriner did speak to the Frenchman after the incident, who was visibly outraged at the tackle.
Pogba missed a chance to continue his fine goalscoring form in stoppage time when he rounded Dubravka only to send his shot into the side-netting, but a third clean sheet of the season may have be more satisfying to United than a third goal.