Solskjaer hails ‘massive’ result against Chelsea after PSG loss

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth-round win against Chelsea as “massive” following their loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

United’s unbeaten run under caretaker manager Solskjaer was ended by PSG in the first leg of their last-16 tie last week but the Red Devils responded with a comfortable 2-0 away victory over Chelsea on Monday.

Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba guided United to their 11th win in 13 matches in all competitions following Solskjaer’s appointment in December.

“Massive [result], of course,” Solskjaer told reporters. “You want to see a reaction.

“The players have been brilliant in training. We were quite confident going into this game that we had found the right team selection and temperament.

“There’s a balance between being too eager after losing a game, so today was brilliant.”

Herrera opened the scoring just past the half-hour mark at Stamford Bridge, where Pogba added a second on the stroke of half-time as United – who lost to Chelsea in last season’s FA Cup final – beat the Blues away from home for the first time since 2012.

With Wolves awaiting in the quarter-finals, Solskjaer added: “We lost the final to Chelsea last year. My last game was a loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Last time we beat them in the Cup was 20 years ago, apparently. We want to get to the final.

“It’ll be a tough away game against Wolves, but it seems like both we and our fans love the away games. It didn’t feel like an away game with that support behind the goal.”

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United, who have only lost once since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho, are fourth in the Premier League and a point above sixth-placed Chelsea ahead of Sunday’s visit of Liverpool.

Asked if United have gained a psychological advantage over Chelsea in the league following Monday’s triumph, Solskjaer said: “We’ve got to build on the positives tonight. We play Liverpool next week, but Chelsea, Arsenal and us will fight for that fourth position.

“There are three good teams fighting for that one position. But this was about getting through to the next round.”


Pogba’s one of the best midfielders in the world – Solskjaer

Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Paul Pogba is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world following his performance in the FA Cup fifth-round victory at Chelsea.

United star Pogba scored a goal and set up another as he was named man of the match in Monday’s impressive 2-0 win away to Chelsea.

Pogba teed up Herrera for the opening goal in the 31st minute before the World Cup winner got on the scoresheet with a towering header on the stroke of half-time.

The 25-year-old, who was sent off against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie, has been directly involved in 15 goals since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December – scoring nine goals and tallying six assists.

“He had a tough game against PSG but he was probably our best player then,” Solskjaer told reporters. “He had two or three players around him all the time.

“Tonight [Monday] was a great response, playing against one of the best defensive midfielders in the world with [N’Golo] Kante next to him.

“We know he’s one of the best attacking midfielders in the world. He has vision, so the cross for Ander’s goal was fantastic.

“Then the way he plays the ball out to Marcus [Rashford] and gets into the box for the second was fantastic, too.”

On telling Pogba to push wider on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, Solskjaer said: “You want him to see and find space. He and Ander were allowed more freedom to roam forward, and we needed more arrivals in the box with Marcus and Romelu [Lukaku] being a bit wider as well.”

While Pogba was named the pick of the bunch, Herrera produced another fine display for Solskjaer’s side.

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Herrera has established himself as an ever-present in the starting XI and he earned praise from his Norwegian boss.

“His energy and tenaciousness is vital for us,” Solskjaer said. “That’s why he plays almost every game. He has loads of energy, covers the right-hand side, runs forward.

“Tonight you can’t just praise one. It’s 11 players, plus the subs. But Ander has done fantastic.”


‘I worry about results, not the fans’ – Chelsea boss responds to ‘f*ck Sarriball’ chants

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says he is concerned only about results, not fans, after supporters chanted ‘f*ck Sarriball’ at him as the Blues were knocked out of the FA Cup.

Manchester United restricted Chelsea to just two shots on target as they dumped them out of the cup by a 2-0 scoreline, inflicting the Blues’ third defeat in five games.

However, the Italian says he is not concerned about the chants aimed at him by fans but rather is solely focused on winning matches.

“I am worried about the results. Not about the fans,” Sarri said after the game. 

“I can understand the situation and our fans because the result wasn’t good. 

“We are out of the FA Cup, so I can understand them. But I am worried at the moment about our results.”

However, he believes getting the supporters back onside is easily done.

“It’s really very easy. If we are able to win three or four matches in a row, it will be very easy. It’s difficult to win five matches in a row.”

When asked about the nature of the chants, Sarri was evasive and admitted that his players had not yet completely grasped his ‘Sarriball’ philosophy.

“Not completely at the moment,” he said. “Because, especially in a situation like in the second half, we need to move the ball faster. 

“Faster mentally. Faster materially. We need movement without the ball. 

“Less individual actions, because when you have spaces, of course, you can go for an individual action, but when the situation is like in the second half you need to move the ball faster and have more movement, otherwise, you cannot score.”

Sarri was stoic when asked if he was worried about his job and if he would be given time to turn things around.

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“It’s not my problem. My problem is to start (preparing) for the game tomorrow morning and to work with my players to try and improve in a few days.

“Find more determination, more aggression, because we conceded the second goal without determination or aggression.

“I was worried when I was in League Two in Italy, but not now.”


‘We trust him & he trusts us’ – Pogba backs Solskjaer after Man Utd dump Chelsea out of FA Cup

Paul Pogba hailed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as someone capable of handling the rigors of being Manchester United manager, and added the Norwegian has created an aura of trust at the club.

The Red Devils bounced back from a midweek defeat at Old Trafford to Paris Saint-Germain to eliminate Premier League rivals Chelsea from the FA Cup on Monday.

Pogba provided the assist for Ander Herrera’s opener, while scoring his team’s second just before the half to complete the 2-0 victory over Maurizio Sarri’s men at Stamford Bridge.

The win not only sent United into the quarter-final of the FA Cup, but was also Solskjaer’s 11th in 13 games since he took over as caretaker manager from Jose Mourinho in December.

Mourinho only won 10 games in 24 games in all competitions this season, meaning Solskjaer has surpassed his predecessor in 11 fewer contests.

Pogba has been a key performer for the club over Solskjaer’s brief tenure, scoring nine goals and adding six assists thus far – outpacing the five goals and four assists he managed in 20 games under Mourinho.

And Pogba has backed the caretaker boss to keep it up, believing Solskjaer knew what is required of a United manager when he took the job.

“We are Manchester United. We play to win trophies,” Pogba told BBC Sport after the victory. “He [Solskjaer] took this job because he can do it.

“He trusts us and we trust him. Obviously we go for it, and we never know if we are going to win. We go to win.”

Pogba’s future at the club appeared in doubt toward the end of Mourinho’s tenure, with the midfielder not even seeing the field in the manager’s final game – a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in January.

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His resurgent form has been essential in Solskjaer’s turnaround, but Pogba credited his team-mates for today’s performance as well as for allowing him to perform so well over the past two months. 

“It is a beautiful win. Today was a great performance from the team, all of them. It wasn’t easy. We did it. We are really pleased with that win.

“The team helped me get to my best. I give everything for them. They help me score goals and to make assists. We are just enjoying playing together.”


‘I don’t know if the players are still with me’ – Sarri admits he could be losing Chelsea dressing room

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has claimed that he is not sure whether his players are still with him following his side’s 2-0 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup.

The Blues have now lost three of their last five games in all competitions without scoring, with Bournemouth and Manchester City inflicting 4-0 and 6-0 defeats, respectively.

Sarri has just six days to try and pick his players up before their Carabao Cup final against City, a game which could prove decisive in whether or not he keeps his job.

And the Italian admitted he was not entirely sure if his players still backed him following the recent run of poor results. 

“I think [the players are still with me]. Of course, I am not sure, but I think so,” Sarri said after the game.

“I think the situation with the players is really very good for the relationship, but the relationship is not so important. 

“It’s important to play, it’s important to get good results, but my relationship with my players is good at the moment.”

Sarri also voiced his frustration at the lack of fight his players showed – a criticism he has levelled at them before.

“We need all to improve because I am not able to get out of my players a very high level of aggression and determination.” 

He defended his side’s performance as a whole, however, saying that his team were ‘unlucky’.

“I think that, with the result, we were unlucky,” he said.

“In the first half we played better than the opponent and, at the end of the first half, it was 2-0 to them. 

“Then in the second half, it was really very difficult to play because they are a really physical team and defended very low, compact. 

“So we played confused football in the second half. But, in the first half, we played well. 

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“We need, of course, more aggression, more determination in the situation inside our box, and inside the opposing box. 

“Because the difference was there. We played 78 balls in the opposing goal, and United played only 16 into our box, and it was 2-0. That was the difference.”

Chelsea play Malmo next in the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie, having won the first leg 2-1.