Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United’s 3-2 victory over Liverpool is a statement to the players proactive abilities which took them to the FA Cup fifth round.
Mohamed Salah was on target twice for Liverpool while Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford also found the back of the net for the hosts. But it was Bruno Fernandes late free-kick that helped United set up a tie with West Ham at Old Trafford next month.
Speaking after this demonstration of attacking prowess, Solskjaer said: “It’s fantastic to win games against last year’s champions – they are a fantastic team and we have had good results over the past couple of years playing different systems but today we played well and won on our terms.
“We have found a way that we and the players believe in and we are getting stronger and stronger. Our mentality to come back from 1-0 down. We have shown it so many times this season. Physically we have got stronger and stronger and lasted to the end of games a lot more.
“We look at the difference of a year ago and six months back… you can’t take too many big strides at any one point, but layer by layer we’re getting better and better, winning tight games. The morale and confidence of course is very good.
“For us it’s a good feeling to play on our terms. We have had some good results over the last few years, playing with the diamond or with a 3-5-2… different systems to nullify opponents but to win today with a positive selection and in the way we see our team, that’s a statement to ourselves.
“That’s the confidence boost that we can match the best with our style of football.”
Sunday’s game was a sharp contrast to the rivals’ earlier encounter at Anfield which ended in a goalless draw.
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has conceded that “decisive mistakes” cost his side the FA Cup progress.
“It’s not what we wanted, so it’s frustrating,” Klopp said. “We weren’t on our absolute top, but we made a lot of steps in the right direction,” he said.
“You could see the boys really wanted to change the fortune, they wanted to score goals and that’s good. We did that, we scored twice, which is good as well. That’s all okay but in the end they scored three, we scored two and they are through.
“But we can take positives out of this game, of course – I saw a lot of steps in the right direction and that’s all good.”
The Reds are also the first reigning Premier League champion to be eliminated from the FA Cup as early as the fourth round since Manchester City in 2014/15.