United Briefing: Bring on the best

Friday 19 March 2021 08:00

Victor Lindelof says Manchester United relish playing the biggest and best opposition, as the Reds await our fate in the quarter-finals of today's UEFA Europa League draw.

United needed to score away at the San Siro in the second leg of our Round-of-16 tie with AC Milan on Thursday night and came away with an impressive 1-0 win over the Italian giants.

Today, the Reds will learn our potential path to the competition's final, when the draw for both the quarter-finals and semi-finals is made in Nyon, Switzerland (12:00 GMT).

The Swede says he and his team-mates will look forward to whatever challenge it presents, having already beaten quality teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig earlier in the season, plus Real Sociedad and Milan in the last rounds of the Europa League.

Lindelof: How we managed Zlatan Video

Lindelof: How we managed Zlatan

Victor was outstanding against the Rossoneri, and had to be considering the huge threat of Ibrahimovic...

Asked whether he hoped today's draw might throw up something a little kinder than the Spanish and Italian sides we've faced in the last two rounds, Lindelof said:

“You always want to play against the best teams. We played against Real Sociedad, a strong team, and managed to win against them, and then this round we beat Milan and went through to the next round, so it always gives you an extra feeling when you beat a good team. For me it doesn’t really matter. Right now I'm just very happy for the win.

“Every time we win obviously we get more and more confidence but we played good, and I think we’re showing [our qualities]. I think it gives us momentum. We’ve just got to keep going because it’s another big game coming up [against Leicester in the FA Cup] so we’ve just got to recover quick and be ready for Sunday.”

Paul Pogba was our Man of the Match in Lombardy, but Lindelof and goalkeeper Dean Henderson deservedly came second and third in the vote, as we kept a sixth clean sheet in our last seven games.

Victor feels the return of Pogba has given the team a massive boost as we approach the business end of the season, with the Frenchman setting an example for his colleagues in a superb 45-minute cameo.

“I didn’t see his goal, but it looked very, very tight [in terms of the angle] and I was surprised that he managed to get off the shot like that,” said Victor, admiringly.

“It just shows what type of qualities he has and I think when he came on he was absolutely fantastic. He’s been gone for quite a while and only trained with the team a couple of times, and then managed to perform like that. It’s impressive.”
Highlights: Milan 0 United 1 Video

Highlights: Milan 0 United 1

See how the Reds clinched qualification to the Europa League quarter-finals, courtesy of Pogba's fine goal...

Despite the narrow aggregate scoreline – and the introduction of former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic after Pogba's goal –  United closed out the game fairly comfortably, and Lindelof was delighted by the way the Reds took charge for much of the match.

We knew it was going to be a tight game, so we just wanted to try and control the game and then to obviously to get the first goal,” he explained.

We started off the game quite good, but then after like 20 minutes we lost control of the game and they took over a little bit. But I think in the second half we played quite well and after the goal we tried to control it, and they didn’t have any really, really good opportunities, so I'm very happy for the clean sheet and the win.

“Zlatan‘s a fantastic player and very, very strong and he knows what he’s doing out there so you always have to be on your toes and read the situations in a good way. But today I managed to defend it well and like I said, I’m very pleased for that.”

Ole: It’s looking bright! Video

Ole: It’s looking bright!

See what the boss makes of Pogba’s goal, Henderson’s save, and United’s increasing momentum…


We hope you already know the answer to the question above! United, of course, went to the mighty San Siro and claimed a famous 1-0 win to progress to the last eight of the Europa League.

Paul Pogba's magical goal following his return from injury was enough to do the damage, and the Frenchman predictably went on to claim our Man of the Match award.
We also heard from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Luke Shaw, with the former also providing an update on Marcus Rashford, who was taken off at half-time in Milan. The latter, meanwhile, gave his reaction to his return to the England fold.
Shaw: It’s been a very good day Video

Shaw: It’s been a very good day

Luke reflects on a vital win in Milan, plus his much-deserved England recall…


After last night's memorable win in Milan, we'll learn our opponents in the next round (and possible semi-finals opponents) of the Europa League when the draw takes place in Nyon, Switzerland (12:00 GMT). Check out ManUtd.com and our Official App to find out the news as soon as it happens.

We also begin the build-up to Sunday's Emirates FA Cup quarter-final away at Leicester City. You'll be able to watch and read reaction to Ole's pre-match press conference throughout the day on ManUtd.com and our Official App. Look out for updates from 13:30 GMT.