Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed a “massive step forward” for his Manchester United team after an impressive 3-1 win at Arsenal extended his perfect start as caretaker manager.
United won their eighth game in eight tries under the Norwegian to book their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup and afterwards said the manner of the performance at the Emirates made it his best yet since replacing Jose Mourinho in December.
“A massive step forward for us performance-wise,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday night. “As a team, the structure in the team was miles, miles better compared to Tottenham a couple of weeks ago where we hung in there.
“David [De Gea] saved us [against Tottenham], today Sergio [Romero] had a fantastic save [in the] second half but our structure was miles, miles better. We’ve been working on that because we need to dig in and defend properly against good teams.”
Solskjaer returned Alexis Sanchez to the team and the Chilean put United in front in the first half with a goal on his return to the club he left a year ago.
It was Sanchez’s second of the season and just his fifth in United colours and Solskjaer is hopeful it will spark a return to form for the 30-year-old.
“Every player, the more confident you get, the more you want to get on the pitch and train and work on yourself and trust yourself,” said Solskjaer, when asked about Sanchez’s performance.
“Of course, he’s been injured lately so was great to see him get 65 or 70 minutes tonight so he can only improve and I think he knows that himself.”
After coming in on a short-term contract following Mourinho’s dismissal, Solskjaer is making himself a front-runner for the job on a permanent basis after transforming United’s fortunes.
With games against Burnley, Leicester and Fulham to come in the next two weeks, Solskjaer will be expected to extend his run to 11 straight wins, but the 45-year-old is refusing to get carried away.
“I’m not here to get excited,” said Solskjaer. “I’m here to keep on improving the team, improving the players and just look for the next game.
“It’s a massive league game for us at home again [against Burnley on Tuesday], so Sunday we will enjoy, just sit back in a chair and watch the FA Cup for a change.”