Solskjaer expresses delight over Pogba’s emphatic return from injury layoff as the Red Devils march on to the quarterfinals
Manchester United produced a resilient performance at San Siro to edge past AC Milan in the round-of-16 Europa League second leg tie. Paul Pogba, who came back from his injury layoff, scored the only goal of the game at the start of the second half to take the Manchester Reds into the quarterfinals of the competition. Following a drab first half performance, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought on Pogba for Marcus Rashford at the restart. Just few minutes after coming on, the Frenchman made a major impact in the tie.
Pogba provided the drive Manchester United were missing in the first half and produced a beautiful finish from a tight angle to give Ole’s boys a crucial away goal. Manager Solskjaer was quick to point out the impact his star player had during the post-match interview. “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,” Ole was quoted by manutd.com.
The Norwegian manager reckons how big a boost Pogba’s return from injury will be for the squad at the business end of the season. “… 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,” he added.
Solskjaer also gave a small insight into the injury situation surrounding the club. “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,” the manager added in the post-match interview following the gritty 1-0 win at San Siro.
Ole was understandably happy to secure the win in Italy after managing only a draw in the first leg at Old Trafford. “I’m very happy of course. A very well-done job, because they were two very even games really,” he added before praising the goalkeeper, “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.”
Speaking on the importance of maintaining the momentum, Solskjaer said, “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,” he added. “If you’re losing, you’re afraid of losing again and afraid of making mistakes.”
This was a second straight away victory in the knock out phase of the Europa League for Manchester United. In the first leg of round-of-32, Red Devils had beaten the Spanish club Real Sociedad 4-0 at Anoeta Stadium. With momentum on their side, Solskjaer’s boys will be eager to go deeper into the competition.