Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Solskjaer pleased with FA Cup progress

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he made it tough for his players by picking a Manchester United team with nine changes and he insists there is plenty to improve on, but he was still pleased to reach round four of the Emirates FA Cup.

Sergio Romero kept a clean sheet, despite being tested at times by the Royals, while a first-half penalty given by the VAR system and confidently converted by Juan Mata, plus a second goal on the stroke of half-time by Romelu Lukaku, were enough for the Reds to win.

Here's what Solskjaer had to say in his post-match interviews with MUTV, BT Sport and other reporters after the game...

I MADE IT TOUGH FOR MY TEAM
“It was a tough game, but 2-0 and a clean sheet [is good]. I made it tough for us because when you make nine changes it is never easy for a team that has never played together so I am delighted that we are in the next round. We work together every single day and of course we know we need some fitness work and some work on relationships, but today I put a team together that has never played together and we are through so that is good.”

READING PLAYED WELL
“We analysed them, we knew they were going to come and play and I have to say they played well. They have some quality players and they made us work hard to get possession and when we got the ball we were too wasteful, we know that. We have spoken about loads of things to improve on.”

Andreas Pereira was one of nine players coming into a much-changed line-up.

ON THE VAR INCIDENT
“From where I sat it was a clear penalty, I didn’t need VAR but they were checking for offside and probably it was, but well done to Juan who got the touch, got brought down and the penalty was well struck.”

ALEXIS SHOULD BE OK FOR SPURS GAME
He was feeling his hamstring towards the end and he should have told me a minute before because I had just made two subs and I didn’t have to take one off in the end. I think he will be OK, but he was tired and hopefully it is not a bad reaction so we will see once we get closer to next week."

LUKAKU GETTING BETTER

“He is improving. He has had his time off over Christmas and now he is getting his fitness back. He needed the 90 minutes, but I thought he took the ball well with a great pass from Alexis – that’s two in two for him now he has made which is also a positive.”

 

DARMIAN WAS THE BIGGEST POSITIVE 

“He was the biggest plus today you have to say. Of course Romelu [Lukaku] got the goal, but Matteo looked like he had played centre-back for a while. He's a cultured Italian and very calm on the ball. He was one of the few who settled us down and tried to pass it and I don’t think he put a foot wrong.”

 

CHONG IS EXCITING
He did two or three good things, he got the crowd going, he is exciting. He had a bad injury [in the past], but he has come into the team and he is coming good. You don’t run the game as a 19-year-old in your first appearance, but he got 30 minutes and I think he showed a few glimpses of what he can do, he certainly has in training. The game wasn’t won, it was only 2-0, so it was about going out there to perform. It was not like it was 4-0 and a party, so he did well defensively as well. I think he will remember this game for a long, long time."

Tahith Chong made his first-team debut by coming on as a sub.

WE MUST PERFORM BETTER AT WEMBLEY
“We have performed a lot better, but you can’t ask for fantasy football every time and with the changes I made you can’t expect it to have the same flow and rhythm we normally would. Some individual quality at times managed to get us through. We are going to have some days to recover and then train hard because we know that if that performance is repeated at Wembley against Spurs, we are not going to come back with a clean sheet and any points.”

ON THE CROWD'S CHANTS

“Where is Micky [Phelan]'s shorts is what I wonder? He will have to get them on soon!”

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