Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted he was pleased with Donny van de Beek’s performance in his side’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Watford on Saturday night. Scott McTominay scored the only goal of the game at Old Trafford, notching in the fifth minute of the contest. It means the Red Devils will be in the hat for Monday’s draw for the next round of the competition.
United headed into the match against Watford seeking a return to winning ways after losing 2-0 to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup in midweek.
And while it wasn’t a blistering performance, the Red Devils did enough to secure victory with McTominay scoring in the fifth minute.
Many of United’s fringe players struggled during the showdown at Old Trafford, though Van de Beek was praised on social media for his own display.
The Netherlands international would have had an assist had Juan Mata not spurned a good chance, while he showed some neat and tidy touches amid the heat of the battle.
And, speaking after the game, Solskjaer delivered his verdict on the 23-year-old’s performance.
“I think Donny showed again his qualities,” said the Norwegian.
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“He has everything a leader has to have. So I just wanted to test him how he reacted because he always does that anyway and so I gave him the armband to see if there was any change in him, but gladly there wasn’t.”
Solskjaer is happy to have guided United through as he looks to win his first trophy as manager.
“Yes, very happy to be through,” he said.
“We started really brightly. I expected it to be the other way round that we needed 15 to 20 minutes to get going and then find the rhythm but after a very good start we lost our shape, we lost too many balls.
“We lost them easily. We started making difficult decisions and trying to do the complicated things. Maybe to show the manager that I want to play in the next game.
“I know they are good players so they don’t have to do that. But we are through and that’s the main thing.”
United are next in action against Burnley on Tuesday night.
And, should they win that match, they’ll leapfrog fierce rivals Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
The Red Devils haven’t won the prize since 2013, back when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the Old Trafford roost.
But they have genuine aspirations of doing so under Solskjaer this term, even though Jurgen Klopp’s side remain the overwhelming favourites.