Manchester United must build on their 2-0 win over defending champions Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup and go all the way to the final, caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.
United have had to play two tough away games at fellow Premier League top-four contenders, Arsenal and Chelsea, to reach the quarter-finals, and now play another top-flight side in Wolverhampton Wanderers in the next round.
“We want to get to the final,” Solskjaer told reporters after the win at Stamford Bridge.
“It’ll be a tough away game against Wolves, but it seems like both we and our fans love the away games,” he said. “It didn’t feel like an away game with that support behind the goal.”
Fourth-placed United will shift their focus back to the league and the race for the top four this weekend when they host title contenders Liverpool, with both Arsenal and Chelsea a point below them in the standings.
Howls of frustration broke out from Chelsea supporters tired of coach Maurizio Sarri’s familiar tactics.
Chelsea’s loss of form has been so steep since their early-season promise that some supporters began to chant about their own coach being “sacked in the morning,” just seven months after the Italian arrived at Stamford Bridge.
The shortcomings of Sarri’s Chelsea were once again laid bare.
While Paul Pogba created United’s first goal for Ander Herrera and scored the second himself, with both coming from headers, Jorginho — the central midfielder that Sarri brought with him to London from Napoli last year — struggled to leave a mark.
Pogba’s midfield partner Herrera got himself on the score sheet with a precise finish after a fine build-up, a stark contrast to Mateo Kovacic, who was invisible for Chelsea.
United’s defense snuffed out the rare threats from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain, while the hosts — still smarting from a 6-0 Premier League humiliation by Manchester City a week earlier — looked brittle at the back whenever the powerful running of Marcus Rashford put them to the test.
However, most alarming for Chelsea fans is the lack of flexibility displayed by Sarri.
Loud boos rang out when he decided to make the familiar substitution of Kovacic by Ross Barkley.
Sarri said the solution lay in his players finding greater aggression and determination on the pitch.
“It’s really very easy,” he said. “If we are able to win three or four matches in a row, it will be very easy.”
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