Manchester United may have battled past AC Milan on Thursday to reach the Europa League quarter-finals, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that it came after a furious team meeting last week. The Red Devils were given a tough draw in the Europa League last-16 when Milan were pulled out of the hat.
The Serie A side have impressed this season and sit above Juventus in the league table.
United were still favourites heading into their first leg tie last week though, but they came away frustrated when Milan bagged a late equaliser.
Solskjaer cut a frustrated figure as he returned to the dressing room after that game and clearly wanted a reaction from his side.
The United boss admitted to taking a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s books by giving his players an infamous ‘hairdryer treatment’.
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He said: “Every goal you concede at Manchester United is going to be scrutinised. That’s the way it is.
“I know 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 bit of a meeting.
“You saw against West Ham and you saw in Milan that there was no chance we were going to let any goals in.
“They’re proud defenders and even though they can play football and play out from the back and all this, when you see defenders wanting to defend things you’re pleased.”
It clearly worked as well though with United going on to beat West Ham and Paul Pogba returning to score the winner against Milan on Thursday.
There has been constant speculation over the France international’s future at Old Trafford, but Solskjaer has indicated that he wants the midfielder to stay.
“I think everyone in the team – and Paul included – are just focused on doing as well as we can this season,” he said.
Solskjaer has praised his players for coping with the relentless schedule of fixtures this campaign and he hopes they can continue impressing against Brendan Rodgers’ side.
“I have to say I’m really impressed by the way they recover and get ready for the next game, because it is relentless,” Solskjaer added.
“They are preparing to perform at the highest, highest level. It’s not like we’ve had any gimmes in the draws. Every game has been a game you 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, goal-scoring form, you’ve got other quality players there, the passes of (Your) Tielemans and the runs of (Ayoze) Perez. We know we’ve got a game on our hands.”