Solskjaer's verdict on win in Milan
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted to see his Manchester United players defend from the front throughout Thursday night's excellent 1-0 win over AC Milan and he reserved special praise for matchwinner Paul Pogba.
The fit-again France midfielder came off the bench to net a vital away goal which gave us a 2-1 aggregate victory over the Rossoneri, who threatened late on with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic header which was well saved by Dean Henderson.
Ole and the Reds can now look forward to the quarter-final draw, while attentions at the Aon Training Complex turn to the Emirates FA Cup last-eight tie at Leicester City on Sunday.
Solskjaer pointed to the importance of momentum and he's urging his players to keep that winning form going. Here are the main comments from the manager's post-match interviews with BT Sport and MUTV:
A JOB WELL DONE
“I’m very happy of course. A very well-done job, because they were two very even games really. It was always going to be decided on a piece of quality, or a piece of magic from someone. A set-play maybe. Dean [Henderson] had a fantastic save towards the end from Zlatan’s [Ibrahimovic] header. It was a very good goal by Paul [Pogba]. I think we did enough to go through. We’ve come through a very difficult tie against a fantastic club and a very good team.”
POGBA'S RETURN IS A BIG BOOST
“We’ve missed Paul. He’s been out for almost two months and of course any team would miss a player like Paul Pogba and he was just getting into his best form. And for us he’s going to give us a really big boost for the rest of the season. Today he made a very, very big difference for us. Technically, he’s one of the best footballers around. It was a very good slot. I’m very happy for Paul that he’s back now and the boys have done very well in the two months without him. We’ve worked hard, playing a game every three days and now we’ve added Donny, David’s back and hopefully Anthony and Edinson are back soon, so it’s looking bright.”
DEFENDING FROM THE FRONT
“You give yourself a chance to win a game of football [with clean sheets]. Dean [Henderson] had a fantastic save towards the end from the big lad [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] and I’m very pleased with everyone’s defending. From the front you see Dan James, Mason [Greenwood], Marcus [Rashford] and Bruno [Fernandes] – the front four all pressing like they did. We always know that the back six, with Scott [McTominay] and Fred and the back four, always give everything.”
YOU HAVE TO BE SPOT ON IN THE CUPS
“It’s going to be difficult, no matter what. We’ve beaten Sociedad, we’ve beaten AC Milan so we’re confident in our own ability. We know we have to turn up, we have to play well. We can’t play like we did, for spells in the first half at times in the last game against Milan, coming into it with no intensity. We've got league games, Europa League games, and we’re looking forward to it. That’s what we want. This is the only way we can improve, by getting used to winning games that matter. You’ve got to be spot on when you play in cup competitions as anything can happen. Today I thought it was a penalty for Dan James in the first five minutes or whatever it was. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. Anything can happen in cup competitions, but we’re through, we’re confident and looking forward to the draw.”
WINNING HELPS EVERYTHING
“Momentum is underrated in football. When you keep winning games, you get that boost of energy, you get that feeling when you go on to the pitch. You’re more confident. If you’re losing, you’re afraid of losing again and afraid of making mistakes. This means a lot for the boys and the atmosphere is good in the dressing room. We’ve just got to recover quickly because there’s a game again on Sunday which we’re looking forward to. We’ve got a breather from the league, but it’s a big game again, a quarter-final and we dust ourselves down and go again.”