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San hero 'He makes a very big difference' - Solskjaer salutes Pogba as Man United beat AC Milan

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan interacts with Paul Pogba of Manchester United after the game. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan interacts with Paul Pogba of Manchester United after the game. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan interacts with Paul Pogba of Manchester United after the game. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

He has been the most talked about player at Manchester United for the last five years and not always for the right reasons, yet this was a moment for Paul Pogba to cherish.

The French World Cup winner returned from injury with a bang as the super sub fired United to victory at AC Milan and a place in the Europa League quarter-finals, with a 1-0 win at the San Siro always a result to cherish.

Simon Kjaer’s stoppage-time equaliser at Old Trafford last week left the return leg of this last-16 encounter between these European heavyweights fascinatingly poised.

Pogba missed the first leg during a 40-day absence with a thigh injury and made a timely return, scoring three minutes after his half-time introduction to secure a 1-0 win and 2-1 aggregate triumph.

"We've missed Paul," declared a delighted Solskjaer. "He's been out for almost two months and any team would miss a player like Paul Pogba.

"He is very important for us and he's going to give us a big boost. He makes a very, very big difference to us."

The win sends United into a European quarter-final for a third successive season under Solskjaer's watch, but this time he is targetting the final victory.

"We've come through a very difficult tie against a fantastic club and we've overcome some difficulties," he added.

"You give yourself a chance to win a game of football when you keep a clean sheet. Dean Henderson made a fantastic save towards the end and I'm very pleased with everyone's defending. We know the back six, with the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred, always give everything.

"There are many good teams left but you've got to be spot on. It's a cup competition and anything can happen. But we are through and we feel confident.

"Now we have Leicester on Sunday in the FA Cup. We are looking forward to it. Another quarter-final, so will just dust ourselves down and go again."

United's in-form full-back Luke Shaw also saluted a fine United victory, on a day when his long exile from the England international squad came to an end.

"Obviously, we're very happy we’re through," he said. "I’ll be honest, and the lads and staff would agree, we weren’t good at all especially first half we were awful.

"The first 10-15 minutes, we started well, kept control of the ball but it was like a switch - we turned off, kept giving away balls, bringing pressure on ourselves and we were lucky.

"Second half it always helps to have a world class player like Paul (Pogba) to make a difference and he did that. But we know we need to be better than tonight.

"It’s a very good win and the positive is that we are through, we have players coming back and the squad looks better."

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