Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Manchester United have grown more confident in Europa League glory after knocking AC Milan out of the competition.
United won a 1-0 second leg win of their round of 16 thanks to a goal from Paul Pogba shortly after half-time. This meant they had progressed with a 2-1 cumulative victory to reach the quarter-finals.
United will learn from their opponents for the next round and who they could face in the semi-final if they reach this stage on Friday.
In the meantime, Solskjaer will be able to reflect on their success at San Siro. And after the game, he praised his team’s defensive skills in the away game, which gave them optimism for their remaining challenges in the tournament.
He said BT Sport: “Very happy of course. We went through a very difficult game against a fantastic club and we overcame some difficulties.
“You give yourself a chance to win a football game by keeping a clean sheet. Dean Henderson had a fantastic save towards the end and I’m very happy with everyone’s defense.
“We know the last six, with players like Scott McTominay and Fred, always give it their all.
“There are still a lot of good teams, but you have to be there. It’s a cup competition and anything can happen. But we are done and we feel confident.
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Solskjaer introduced Pogba at halftime and it turned out to be a masterstroke. The Frenchman hadn’t played for over a month, but made an instant impact upon his return.
Solskjaer has admitted United missed the midfielder and is hoping to have a say before the end of the season.
He added, “We missed Paul. He’s been out for almost two months and any team would miss a player like Paul Pogba.
“He’s very important to us and he’s going to give us a big boost. He makes a very, very big difference to us.
Now Solskjaer’s attention will turn to the FA Cup. United face Leicester in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
The manager said: “We are looking forward to Sunday. It’s another quarter-final, so we’ll just dust ourselves off and go.
Shaw shares an honest reflection
Among those who played a key role in the game against Milan was Luke Shaw, who played for 90 minutes the day he learned he had been called up to the England squad.
The left-back gave an honest interview after the game, urging United to raise their standards in the remaining rounds.
He said BT Sport: “Obviously we are very happy to have finished. I’ll be honest, and guys and staff would agree, we weren’t good at all – especially in the first half we were horrible.
“The first 10-15 minutes we started well, kept control of the ball, but it was like a switch – we went out, we kept giving balls, putting pressure on ourselves and we went. was lucky.
“In the second half, it always helps to have a world class player like Paul to make a difference and he did. But we know we have to be better than tonight.
“It’s a very good win and the positive is that we are done, we have players coming back and the team is looking better.”