Football

Solskjaer: Manchester United need to breed winning mentality

Solskjaer believes bagging FA Cup would be key in developing a champion's mindset for his team

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his side have taken an important step in breeding a winning mentality, after they defeated 10-man Norwich City 2-1 in extra time to reach the FA Cup semi-finals yesterday morning (Singapore time).

United striker Odion Ighalo's opener was cancelled out by midfielder Todd Cantwell, but the Canaries entered extra time with a man down, after defender Timm Klose was sent off in the 89th minute.

The game looked to be heading for a penalty shoot-out after Norwich had defended superbly against constant pressure from United, but Maguire fired the winner two minutes from the end.

The win extends United's unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 matches and secures a 30th appearance in the last four of the FA Cup for the Red Devils.

"We're in the semi-finals and we're delighted with that," said Solskjaer. "Last year, we got to the quarter-finals and lost to Wolves. Now, at least, we are in the semi-finals at Wembley.

"It's important for this team to win their first trophy or to get to their first final together. That will help the winning culture because we have to start winning things."

Solskjaer made eight changes to the team which beat Sheffield United 3-0 in the English Premier League on Wednesday, with a number of squad players given a start.

"It wasn't a spectacle, we didn't threaten enough or create enough chances," he said.

"But I am delighted we are into the last four and it was a good workout, we got some minutes for a lot of players. We are through and that is what counts in the Cup."

Solskjaer also spoke of Maguire's impact since his arrival at Old Trafford from Leicester City last summer.

"Harry has been magnificent since he's come to the club, his leadership skills are there to be seen, he helped us with the build-up," the Norwegian said.

"Today, he won every single header and every challenge, so I'm very pleased with Harry."

ONE SIGNING AWAY

Former United defender Phil Neville also acknowledged the importance of Maguire, but he insisted the Red Devils are just one signing away from challenging newly crowned EPL champions Liverpool next season.

The England women's team manager feels that another strong centre-back to partner Maguire would provide a solid defensive base, pointing out the effect Virgil van Dijk had on the Reds after joining from Southampton.

"(Paul) Pogba and one more signing playing to their absolute best. United can get closer," Neville told Premier League Productions.

"(United should get another) centre-back, you look at the impact van Dijk had. Maguire has had a really strong impact... They've still got to be defensively sound. One more signing and United can challenge."

However, former Newcastle United captain Alan Shearer believes the Red Devils are four signings away from being EPL title contenders again.

"Three or four big players, a right-sided midfielder, possibly a centre-forward, a centre-half and maybe another midfielder," Shearer told the BBC.

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