Solskjaer Defends ‘Clean And Tidy’ Van De Beek After Disappointing FA Cup Display

The Dutch midfielder didn’t provide the same creative spark as Bruno Fernandes or Paul Pogba but his manager was pleased with his contribution

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defender Donny van de Beek’s performance after Manchester United struggled past West Ham to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Scott McTominay scored the only goal in extra time after a tepid affair at Old Trafford which saw only six shots on target in 120 minutes.

Van de Beek, a £35 million (€39m/$46m) summer signing from Ajax, started in midfield with Bruno Fernandes benched and Paul Pogba missing from the squad entirely.

In the absence of their playmakers-in-chief, United struggled to find a way through a defensively-minded West Ham side, but Solskjaer was pleased with the role Van de Beek performed.

What did Solskjaer say about Van de Beek?

“I thought in the first half, we and Donny played really well,” Solskjaer told reporters.

“We created spaces and he was part of that. He did his job neat and tidy, had a half chance. In the second half, the whole team fell off a little bit and we just wanted to make a few changes.”

Van de Beek was taken off after 73 minutes, with Fernandes coming on in his place.

Which players did well?

As well as Van de Beek, Solskjaer took time in his press conference to praise Dean Henderson and Mason Greenwood.

West Ham only had one shot on target in the game but Henderson saved from Said Benrahma late in extra time, while Greenwood got another 86 minutes under his belt in a more difficult season which has brought only four goals so far.

“Mason did really well,” Solskjaer said. “He played well managing his minutes, played the last three [games]. Anthony [Martial] played a game the other week and we wanted him to complete the game.

“I always hope our keeper has a quiet night when we play and most of the time it’s happened that way.

“Today [Henderson] was clearing everything, apart from the last header. As a keeper, David [De Gea] has been used to this for years; to keep concentrated, keep your eye on the ball, then suddenly one moment comes up and you have to make a save. Hopefully that’s the way for many years.”

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