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Solskjaer: ‘The players are smiling’ after Man Utd romp in Europa League

The Red Devils scored a handful as they advanced in Europe but their manager was happiest with their defensive display

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted by the way his Manchester United team swatted aside Club Brugge 5-0 in their Europa League tie.

A goal from the spot by Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring,. before a first goal for the club for Odion Ighalo, and one for Scott McTominay on his return from injury saw United out of sight.

A pair of late goals by Fred sealed the rout and continued a good run of form for United. Solskjaer was particularly delighted with their defensive form, with the team only habving conceded once in February, in the first leg against Brugge.

“We are not conceding goals which is so important but we played today the way we want to play,” he told BT Sport.

“The players are smiling, they are playing with confidence and that is what we want. The new lads have brought that in.

“The football we played at times pleased me the most.

“We started the game with great intent. We were playing with good rhythm and intent in our game and we got some great goals as well.”

Ighalo was one of the players United acquired in January and his performance pleased his manager.

The Nigeria international only made the start because Anthony Martial was injured, but his goal was part of an impressive all-around performance.

“He plays up front, he can play with his back to goal and the goal was a good example of what you want of him,” the Norwegian continued.

“He can hold up the ball and he is what we have been lacking a little bit. If we hadn’t had Odion tonight then Mason Greenwood would have had to play and we have a game on Sunday and that would put us in a tired position.

“We knew what we got when we signed him.”

The victory sees United advance to the last-16 of the competition they won under Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho in 2017.

Winning this year would offer them a route back to the Champions League, thought they may be able to qualify from fifth place in the Premier League table after Manchester City’s two year ban from European competition.

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