Scott McTominay has come off the bench to fire Manchester United past West Ham and into the quarter finals of the FA Cup with a superbly struck goal, settling a drab encounter at Old Trafford.
The Scott’s goal was the only highlight of an otherwise forgettable match up, one that saw Moyes men appear to be playing for penalties from the opening kick off, as nine or ten men were regularly seen behind the ball.
McTominay is having his best season in a red shirt, having scored seven goals already, with three coming in the past seven days alone.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is thrilled with the defensive midfielders output, and is ready to push him further forward.
“Scott’s a clinical striker of the ball. He used to play as a striker, we know that, and he finishes with authority.
“Like, ‘bang’, finish. No messing about. No safety. That’s something we’ve got to learn from.
“For a defensive midfielder, we’ll have to unleash him and release him forward because he’s a goal threat in the box and he’s got a good strike on him,” said Solskjaer.
While it was by no means a pulsating encounter, the manager was satisfied with a clean sheet and his teams name in the hat for the next round.
“It doesn’t really matter, it’s by hook or by crook maybe, and that’s the main thing in the cup. We’re in the hat and we bounce back after the disappointment against Everton. That last goal [by Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the weekend] could be a mental kick in the face and we’ve refocused and reset the heads and done really well.
“We’ve had clean sheets. If we look at our record, we’ve had quite a few clean sheets. In big games we’ve had lots of clean sheets and defended well. Yes, we conceded 11 goals in the first three games and that is going to be a bad on the conceded goals when you look at the table, so those 11 goals… well, we weren’t ready. We know that we weren’t ready. If we take them away, we’re not too bad,” added the manager.
West Ham only managed one shot on target all evening, which left Solskjaer to lament the fact the game went into extra time, as his side couldn’t capitalise on their dominance.
“I think we got about 15 to 17 shots in the end but we need to be more clinical. We should’ve finished the game off earlier and finished in 90 minutes but sometimes it doesn’t happen. Especially in the second half, I thought we struggled. First half, we have two or three big moments. Mason [Greenwood] had one when Anthony [Martial] laid it off, Victor Lindelof’s header that deflected, good save by the keeper. Alex [Telles] put a ball in for Donny [van de Beek] who couldn’t get a clean strike. So, first half, I think we dominated and controlled. Second half, not so happy with that one. After we scored, we should have scored two or three more, we’re too wasteful and we should have controlled the game more.”
With games being played every three days in the current climate, a home quarter final draw would suit Solskjaer, who hasn’t had much luck in cup competition draws in his time in the Old Trafford hot seat.
“It doesn’t matter at the moment with the fans. With the travelling, of course, it’s easier to be here at Old Trafford so yes please. Of course you want to win every game. We want to challenge and we want to go to the final. That’s what we’re here at Manchester United for. Sometimes you’re lucky with draws in the cup – we haven’t been that lucky – but obviously we move another step closer to the final. We got a few days to prepare. We don’t play until Sunday. Those 120 minutes will stand us in good stead, ready for Sunday,” concluded Solskjaer.
If Manchester United go on to lift the trophy at Wembley, nobody will remember tonight’s lacklustre affair against West Ham – a game that will not live long in the memory.