Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with his players’ attitude and focus as Manchester United progressed to the FA Cup quarter-finals with an extra-time win against West Ham.
Having seen victory ripped from their grasp with the last kick of the ball on Saturday, the Red Devils produced a positive response to that frustrating 3-3 Premier League draw against Everton.
United had to dig deep against former manager David Moyes’ in-form West Ham side, with substitute Scott McTominay meeting Marcus Rashford’s fine lay-off with a thumping strike to secure a 1-0 victory in extra time.
“Of course going through is always the main thing in the cup,” said Solskjaer, who is looking for his first trophy in the Old Trafford hotseat.
“And for us bouncing back after the disappointing last kick of the ball the other day, so very pleased with the mentality, how they reset their attitude and we’re positive about going through.
“I think the players saw the game out really well. We are getting stronger and fitter.”
Solskjaer made six changes for Tuesday’s fifth-round tie, then made five substitutions to sway a tight game his side’s way.
McTominay was among those brought on in the second half and went on to smash home the 97th-minute winner – the academy graduate’s seventh goal in 30 appearances this season.
“Scott has really, really developed that part of his game this season,” the United boss said, with this term’s tally as many as he had managed in his 84 other games for the club.
“Of course we let him go into the box more often, unleash him. He’s a very good striker of the ball and a very clinical finisher.
“As he was a forward or a striker in his younger days, you can see his authority when he gets a chance to finish.”
While United can look forward to the quarter-final draw, West Ham are left to focus on league matters after a night in which Moyes felt his side deserved more.
“I’m really pleased with the performance the players put in,” he said.
“I wasn’t pleased in the first half because I didn’t think we played well enough and we gave Manchester United too much respect and sat off them a little.
“But with injuries and different things it forced us into a change and the change helped us at half-time. I thought we played much better after that.
“Look, I’m coming away from Old Trafford disappointed that we didn’t at least get a chance to go to penalty kicks because I thought we’d just about warranted that.
“We had a really good claim for a penalty right on the 91st, 92nd minute (against Aaron Wan-Bissaka) but it adds to another game where we’ve had no penalty kicks, which we’ve not had all season.”
West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna was forced off early into the match and his replacement Issa Diop was withdrawn at half-time, becoming the first concussion substitute in English football.
The defender was taken off having clashed heads with Anthony Martial towards the end of the first half, with the Hammers also losing Andriy Yarmolenko to injury early in the second period.
“We think (Diop) is fine and I still think he’s fine,” Moyes said.
“But he had a bump on the head at half-time, so I chose to take no risks and I took him off.
“(Ogbonna) had an ankle injury and Yarmolenko looks like he’s opened up his knee ligaments a little bit, so we need to see how they are. They’ll have tests tomorrow.
“Hopefully they won’t be too bad but I think we’ve seen a little bit of a rise in injuries over the last few weeks.”