Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United’s progress to the FA Cup semi-finals is vital for the development of his side’s winning mentality.
United defeated a 10-man Norwich 2-1 after extra time at Carrow Road on Saturday and two wins at Wembley would secure their first trophy under Solskjaer.
“Last year we got to the quarter-finals and lost to Wolves. Now, at least, we are in the semi-finals at Wembley,” the United manager said in his post-match press conference. “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.”
The Red Devils last lifted silverware in 2017, when they won the League Cup and Europa League title. But there is a renewed sense of optimism around Old Trafford as they stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 matches.
Solskjaer made eight changes as only Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes survived from the midweek Premier League win against Sheffield United.
While United’s stand-ins were out of sync for much of a first half that followed the pattern of many post-lockdown matches, Solskjaer insisted that his squad’s strength in depth could help them lift their first FA Cup since 2016.
Odion Ighalo opened the scoring with his first shot in his first appearance since extending his loan from Shanghai Shenhua. The Nigerian striker has now scored in each of his four United starts, making it five goals in 11 appearances.