Thursday 14 November 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer salutes Europa League progress as Manchester United's goal-shy strikers deliver

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the win
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the win
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested his side's 3-0 win against Partizan Belgrade was 'much needed' after their 1-0 Premier League defeat against Bournemouth last weekend.

Goals from Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford fired United into the last-32 of the Europa League, with Solskjaer hoping the win will fire confidence into his players ahead of Sunday's game against Brighton at Old Trafford.

"We needed a win but we needed a performance where the boys wanted to go forward and score more than one goal," said the United boss. "We could have had loads more tonight as well. Pleasing performance and good to get three points.

"You expect to win at home against teams like this, no disrespect they gave us a really good game over there, but we should have buried it in the first 10 minutes going into half time 2-0 up we were confident.

"It's always good for players to score goals and confidence is always important and we know how important Sunday is for us as we want to look up to the top four or six."

United legend Paul Scholes suggested United's strikers lacked the quality required to carry the side ahead of kick-off, but Solskjaer defended his forwards on a night when all three scored.

"Very happy with them," he added when asked about his strikers. "That was the reason we played the three if we played a strong team and take chances had players to take them and very pleased with all finishes."

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Partizan Belgrade. Martin Rickett/PA Wire

United midfielder Juan Mata gave his verdict on United's display, as he was given a start in midfield after spending most of the season on the sidelines.

"We need a game like this, playing good football, scoring in the first half and enjoying ourselves," he told BT Sport. "We did that for long periods and the fans are happy today and we have qualified

"We are doing OK in this competition, we have qualified which was the first objective but we want to be top. We want to keep escalating positions in the Premier League and are still alive in the other two cups."

Rashford admitted they could have been more clinical in front of goal, as he suggested the lack of experience in the United line-up is contributing to their inconsistency in results this season.

"I think it was a good performance but there are things we can improve on," he added. "We managed to score three goals but it could have been a lot more.

"There were a couple of times where I was half a yard too forward so it was a game of fine margins but we are happy with the three goals. For me, it's about recognising it and trying to correct it in the next game but I won't let it stay on my mind for too long."

"We have a squad with a mix of experience and young people coming through the academy. Some of them are having a lot of minutes, they are developing as players and people and we are very happy with them.

"It is always good to arrive at the next game with a win. The confidence is good, we enjoyed ourselves and we will try to replicate the good football in the Premier League."

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