Red Devils boss will be forced to make a reshuffle for next week’s return leg at Old Trafford
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with his side’s Europa League victory over Granada, but said it was “not a perfect night” after three bookings that ruled out a trio of players by suspension for next week’s return quarter-final.
The Red Devils look well positioned for a place in the last four goals after goals in every half from Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes clinched a 2-0 victory over the Spanish side.
However, they will be without Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw for next week’s second leg after all taking reservations.
Solskjaer satisfied with “ very good result ”
Speaking after the game for BT Sport, Solskjaer said: “It was not a perfect night. We had three yellow cards and three suspensions. 2-0 is a very good result. We know how difficult it is to come to Spain. We have to do well. play to get a result. “
Solskjaer praised the impact of both scorers, with Rashford’s nice strike in the first half of Victor Lindelof’s cross pass bringing his tally to 20 in all competitions.
It was also his eighth goal in European competition this season, the first English player to achieve that feat for the Red Devils since Sir Bobby Charlton in 1964-65.
Fernandes meanwhile scored a late penalty to move up to 24 goals for the season. The Portuguese have scored 19 of 20 kicks they’ve won for the club in all competitions this campaign.
“They [Rashford and Fernandes] were exceptional, so important to us, ”added Solskjaer.
“It was a very good race for Rashford, takes the ball wonderfully. Bruno is so confident on penalties even though the keeper almost saved him.
“We want to win every game. It’s always a young team, a learning team. We have to improve all the time. Football catches up with you so quickly if you rest. We can’t have any other approach.”
Red Devils winger Dan James, who played the full 90 minutes of Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, said BT Sport: “It’s a massive win for us. We knew it would be difficult to come here. Getting a clean sheet was important. There is still a second leg we need to focus on, but we need to recover and prepare for Sunday. . [in the Premier League away at Tottenham].
“We knew it would be a tough game physically and we had to match that. We fought to the end and got this penalty.
“I’m really happy. We have to approach next week with the same attitude. Sunday is a huge game for us. We have to come back, recover, prepare for it.”
The big picture
The Europa League is Manchester United’s only realistic silverware chance this season with the club 14 points behind leaders Manchester City in the Premier League and beaten by Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-final last month.
They haven’t won a trophy since the Europa League under Jose Mourinho almost four years ago and haven’t reached a final since Solskjaer took over from the Portuguese in December 2018, losing in the semi-finals in three competitions of cut last season.
They seem almost certain to reach another semi-final after a professional performance in Spain on Thursday night, despite the absence of Maguire, Shaw and McTominay for next week’s second leg.
Granada are competing in Europe for the first time in club history and started that competition in the first qualifying round, but it would take a remarkable result at Old Trafford next week for their fairytale run to continue.