Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels he has defenders who ‘want to defend’ and the Manchester United manager is delighted with the performances of his backline in recent weeks.
The Reds have kept 10 clean sheets from the last 14 matches in all competitions, including Thursday’s 1-0 win over AC Milan in the second leg of our Europa League last-16 tie.
From those 14 games, United have only conceded six goals, with the three we shipped to Everton at Old Trafford in early February being the only real blot on nearly two months’ worth of wall-to-wall football.
Therefore, it’s unsurprising that Solskjaer is thrilled with his defenders and, speaking ahead of our Emirates FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Leicester City on Sunday, Ole singled out Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof for praise after their phenomenal performances at San Siro.
Ole’s pre-match press conferenceVideo
“Victor and Harry, I thought they played really well last season as well,”
the boss told reporters via video link.
“We had so many clean sheets last season as well, Victor and Harry have got a good understanding with each other and they’ve really built on last season. Then again, we’ve got other centre-backs who come on and do well when they get the chance.”
The Reds put in an almost faultless performance in Milan to secure our passage to the last eight of Europa League.
The boss held his pre-Leicester briefing immediately after that game and explained how the Rossoneri’s late equaliser spawned a conversation between manager and players which Ole thinks was behind the excellent defensive display on Thursday.
“Every goal you concede at Manchester United is going to be scrutinised,”
“That’s just the way it is. I know these boys have become so much stronger mentally and to deal with these things. We work on things.
“When we had a setback like we did against Milan in the last minute, we had a little, not row, but a bit of a meeting and you saw against West Ham and tonight that there was no chance we were going to let any goals in.
“They’re proud defenders,”
“Even though, they can play football, they can play out from the back and all this but when you see defenders wanting to defend, you’re pleased.
“Of course Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] had a good chance, but he’s a physical monster, so you can’t protect yourself against everything in football. but they’re trying as well as they can.”