Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased to kick off a “massive” week by securing an important Premier League win against high-flying West Ham.
Having impressively triumphed at runaway leaders Manchester City in their last top-flight outing, an own goal by Craig Dawson settled Sunday’s Old Trafford encounter between the Champions League qualification hopefuls.
The 1-0 win was an important boost at the start of a key week for United, who head to Italy on Thursday for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash with AC Milan before travelling to Leicester for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final.
The result also means United will return to Premier League action in April second in the standings, with Solskjaer impressed by his side’s response to the late setback against Milan.
“It’s been a big week for us,” Solskjaer said, reflecting on the 2-0 win at City and 1-1 draw with the Rossoneri before overcoming West Ham.
“The last few league games, big games near the top of the league and we’re starting to build some momentum in the league. Of course now we opened the gap further to West Ham, which was important for us.
“We want to improve on last season. We want to get to a final, we want to move up the table.
“This week was always going to be massive. The reaction after the disappointment of the late equaliser Milan scored was really good because you never know how that can affect you.
“I thought it looked like everyone wanted to show what they could do in the first 15-20 minutes – maybe a little bit too eager, lacked a bit of composure. Attitude was spot on, though, and then we got the composure, we built more and more pressure and momentum.”
The impressive Mason Greenwood twice hit the post on Sunday and Marcus Rashford had a great chance to score having made a surprisingly swift return from an ankle issue sustained at City.
United’s options are set to increase further in Milan as Solskjaer prepares to welcome back a swathe of options.
“Injury-wise I hope that we have four or five players back for that game,” he said. “Very likely that Edinson (Cavani) and Anthony (Martial) are fit. Donny (Van De Beek) hopefully as well.
“Paul (Pogba) even might make the trip and David (De Gea) is back from isolation, so that’s more numbers. You could see today we even had two goalkeepers on the bench (Lee Grant and Nathan Bishop), so we need them back of course.”
While Solskjaer looks ahead to key cup matters, David Moyes has a week to reflect on a frustrating Old Trafford defeat before West Ham host Arsenal in the Premier League.
“I don’t know about (this being a) missed opportunity but what it is was a chance for us to pick up three points, which we didn’t do tonight,” the former Old Trafford boss said.
“Overall I don’t think we did enough to earn it. Overall I wasn’t convinced with the performance tonight.”
Asked if West Ham could have taken something away from the game if they had shown the kind of adventure displayed after conceding, Moyes said: “Yeah, you could be right. But once Man United got the one goal, they were quite happy to sit in and wait on us attacking.
“We made some changes, we got a little bit better as the game went on. Parts of (the game plan) we did OK but not so well, so I was disappointed with quite a lot of aspects and that’s why we made the changes.”