Solskjaer eyes ‘catalyst’ to Man Utd success with club ‘getting closer’

Solskjaer eyes ‘catalyst’ to Man Utd success with club ‘getting closer’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to use cup competitions as the catalyst for further success at Manchester United.

Having fallen in four short in semi-finals over the last 14 months, the Red Devils head to the King Power Stadium on Sunday to face Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

They are looking to reach the final four once more fresh from an impressive Europa League last-16 triumph against AC Milan.

Paul Pogba came off the bench and settled a 1-0 second leg triumph at San Siro, securing a 2-1 aggregate victory against Milan and a quarter-final clash against Granada.

Solskjaer spoke ahead of the trip about his belief that cup success can sometimes paper over the cracks and be an “ego thing”. But the 1999 treble hero also knows all about the importance of silverware at United.

“I spoke about it a few days ago about trophies, sometimes it can hide the fact what you’re doing in the background,” the Norwegian said.

“But I feel we are improving all the time and we’re getting closer and to win a trophy could be a boost for everyone, yes.

“We’ve had this before when we won the Carling Cup in the 2006 season with Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, their first wins and it was the first of many.

“We feel, or we hope, a trophy can be a catalyst of more to come.”

The Red Devils have not won a trophy since the 2017 Europa League. That competition and the FA Cup provide their own realistic avenues to silverware this term given the distance to Premier League leaders Manchester City.

But second-placed United have proven their ability to impress on the road. They head to the third-placed Foxes having won their last two away matches at the Etihad Stadium and San Siro without conceding.

“The belief and the attitude is there,” Solskjaer said. “I have to say I’m really impressed by the way they recover and get ready for the next game because it is relentless.

“They are preparing to perform at the highest, highest level. It’s not like we’ve had any gimmes in the draws.

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“Every game has been a game you really have to dig deep to win. This is another one, Leicester away.

“Of course we drew in the league against them and we know we have to defend well against them.

“They’ve got (Jamie) Vardy and (Kelechi) Iheanacho now with the form they’re showing, goalscoring form, and you’ve got other quality players there – the passes of (Youri) Tielemans, the runs of (Ayoze) Perez.

“We know we’ve got a game on our hands.”

Solskjaer says Man Utd defenders remain confident

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer TEAMtalk

There were a number of other impressive displays against Milan, like those of centre-backs Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

Asked how much confidence he has in his defenders given United get linked with so many signings in that area, Solskjaer said: “Sky high.

“We’re used to speculation and every goal you concede at Man Utd is going to be scrutinised. That’s just the way it is.

“I know that these boys have become so much stronger mentally to deal with these things.

“We work on things. When you have a setback like we had against Milan in the last minute, we had a big… not row, but we had a little bit of a meeting.

“You saw against West Ham and you saw tonight there was no chance we were going to let any goals in.”

READ MORESolskjaer has Pogba doubt for Man Utd ahead of Leicester showdown

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