Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Dean Henderson’s denial of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was identical to the goal he conceded against AC Milan in the first leg of Manchester United‘s Europa League round-of-16 knockout tie.
Henderson thwarted Ibrahimovic from close range to preserve United’s 1-0 lead and 2-1 aggregate advantage in the San Siro, where they held on to qualify for the quarter-finals.
David de Gea was available again to Solskjaer after his paternity leave but was named on the bench in Milan as Henderson started for the fifth game running.
The importance of Henderson’s save from Ibrahimovic could consolidate his place as United’s new number one and the England international has kept 12 clean sheets in 18 United games this term.
“It’s a save he should have made last week,” Solskjaer opined. “Very similar. Very pleased for him, of course. Great save.
“The team is always giving us everything. It starts from the front with the pressing front four really high energy pressing, the back six and keeper, we know what they can do. Very happy with the defensive foundation, that gives you the platform to go and win games.”
United have recorded 13 clean sheets in their last 22 games, including shut-outs at Manchester City and AC Milan within two weeks with the same back five.
“That (the clean sheet record) is down to a lot of good work on the training ground by the coaches,” Solskjaer added. “The attitude to learn from the team. We press from the front, great attitude to defend with the front four and we’ve been drilling the back four and midfieldes as well.
“It’s a team effort. The coaches have really, really worked on details we are improving on in every game and every week and that is a way to build a foundation to win games of football.
“Let’s see who we get in the next draw. Today we have beaten a fantastic club and a very good team that is really on the way up. Very pleased for everyone and we want to go all the way. It was hard to lose the semi-final last season.”