Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaped praise on new signings Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo after Manchester United destroyed Club Brugge 5-0 on Thursday night. Both January signings found the net at Old Trafford in the one-sided display. United coasted through to the Round of 16 thanks to a five-goal demolition of Brugge.
The Red Devils put in a first-class performance to see off the Belgian visitors in style, with Fernandes and Ighalo both scoring their first European goals for the club. The Norwegian boss explained the way he was trying to get his team to approach the game and declared that he was very delighted to see both new players playing with confidence.
“We are not conceding goals which are so important but we played today the way we want to play,” he said. “The players are smiling, they are playing with confidence and that is what we want. The new lads have brought that in.”
Solskjaer then discussed the decision to give Ighalo his first start and explained that part of the reason was to keep Mason Greenwood fresh - with the young Englishman set to start on Sunday against Everton.
“The football we played at times pleased me the most. We started the game with great intent,” he continued. “We were playing with good rhythm and intent in our game and we got some great goals as well.”
This was just the third time this season that United have named a matchday 18 without either Martial or Marcus Rashford in, which is impressive given both have had injury issues. The previous two had ended in a 1-1 draw with Rochdale and a 2-1 defeat to Astana in Kazakhstan.
There were no such issues here, in part thanks to United's blistering start, but Solskjaer will be desperate not to be without the in-form Martial for too long.