| 1.3°C Dublin

Leicester win 'It's understandable' - Solskjaer offers up excuses as Man United crash out of the FA Cup

Close

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.  (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

One step forward followed by two steps back.

It has been the persistent story for Manchester United during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign as the club's manager and on a desperately disappointing night at the King Power Stadium, his side suffered another hammer blow as Leicester beat them 3-1 in the FA Cup quarter-final.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s double fired Leicester into their first FA Cup semi-final in 39 years, with the in-form striker taking his goal tally to nine goals in nine matches as he helped his side book a last four showdown with Southampton at Wembley next month.

Youri Tielemans also netted to put the Foxes – four-time runners-up – a game away from their first FA Cup final since 1969.

Mason Greenwood did haul United level in the first half – after Fred’s mistake presented Iheanacho with the opener.

It was just Leicester’s second win over United in 23 years but a deserved one as they outplayed and outfought the visitors, yet Solskjaer insisted his side's slip-up was inevitable after their heavy fixture list.

"We didn't have the spark tonight - but it's understandable," he said, as his side were beaten three days after an impressive Europa League win against AC Milan in Italy.

"This team have been fantastic in the last three or four months. We played every three days and been on a great run. It just caught up with us, all the games and travels. Thursday night in Milan was a big night and took a lot of out of us physically. We didn't have the extra zip, authority and confidence today.

"We tried to get on the front foot and start well because sometimes you can get that adrenaline boost and confidence if you get a goal and that can carry you over the line.

"We've got too many players that have played too many games and too many that haven't really had much football, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and others are trying to get in who haven't had enough football. We didn't have enough against a tough team."

Solskjaer needs to win a trophy to cement his position as United manager and this FA Cup defeat was a major setback in a season that now relies heavily on Europa League success.

"We've got the Europa League and Premier League to concentrate on - yes we would've liked to go to Wembley but now all the focus is on the games we do have," he added.

"We're in a good position in the league and we want to keep improving, of course Leicester are just behind us so it won't be easy but we want to keep going and get as far as possible in the Europa as well."

United's misery was contrasted by Leicester's joy, with manager Brendan Rodgers saluting his side's complete performance.

"We showed courage to play football against one of Europe's greatest teams," he said. "I'm so happy for the players. I thought we thoroughly deserved it.

"Kelechi has always contributed. Maybe his confidence was lower but he works so hard every day and always comes in and gives his all. You see his confidence now. He's at the top of his game.

"It's a different structure [up front]. Kelechi is probably best with someone up there with him. Those two are working very well.

"Our solidity and intensity of press was very good. When we dropped into our shape we denied them space. To beat Manchester United 3-1 you have to be complete in all aspects of the game and the players did that.

"I told the players they were three games from history. Now it's two. We're making the right steps, we're on the right path. We're very ambitious to be the best we can be. That's the challenge and it's the test we're enjoying."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Privacy