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Solskjaer praises ‘different’ Ighalo as Manchester United cruise into FA Cup quarter finals

Manchester United cruised through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup with a 3-0 win over Derby County at Pride Park.

The pre-match headlines were dominated by talk of Wayne Rooney’s involvement against a side for whom he scored a record 253 goals, and the former Manchester United captain went close to opening the scoring, his free-kick being well saved by regular cup ‘keeper, Sergio Romero.

After a recent upturn in both performances and results, United once again put in a positive showing, and they took the lead in the 33rd minute, Luke Shaw’s volley into the ground looping up and over Derby ‘keeper Kelle Roos, though replays showed the ball took a decisive deflection off the shoulder of the much-maligned Jesse Lingard.

Eight minutes later and it was 2-0, the impressive Shaw driving forward and feeding January signing Odion Ighalo, who showed good strength and composure – despite pressure from two Rams defenders – to net his second goal for the Red Devils on just his second start for the club he supported as a boy.

While Derby came out with a renewed vigour in the second half, they were unable to capitalise, and after 70 minutes it was Ighalo who scored his second of the game, the Nigerian firing a rasping effort into the top of the net after his initial strike was blocked.

Rooney had one final chance to net against his former side via another free-kick which again forced Romero into a fine fingertip save, and speaking after the game, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with the result, especially after Derby’s spirited start.

“When you win 3-0 you should think so (be a comfortable win) but there were some scary moments in there,” Solskjaer told BT Sport. “Early on I didn’t think we played particularly well but when you get two goals like we did that is pleasing.”

Solskjaer discussed the performance and quality of Ighalo, with the former Watford striker offering something different to United’s other attacking options.

“When you get strikers in you want them to be happy and confident,” Solskjaer said.

“He has come in here and of course we still have a few injuries and it is great for us to have Odion to call upon.

“He is a different striker for us and scores some good goals, there is not many who could dig that one out for his first. We have a team of good players.”

The Norwegian was also pleased for Luke Shaw, who despite his detractors, was a constant threat from left-back.

“He is getting better and better and is in good form now. Left back or left centre back he has worked hard after injuries and deserves it.”

The 12 time FA Cup winners will now play Norwich City in the quarter finals, after they beat Spurs on penalties on Wednesday.

Rooney says any potential Man Utd title challenge will ‘take time’

See also – The six most successful sides in FA Cup history

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