The Norwegian was relieved to see the Frenchman make good on his guarantee to fire the Red Devils to victory in the Europa League
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Anthony Martial after his winner against LASK, while revealing that the Manchester United striker “promised a goal” after “begging to come on”.
United resumed their Europa League campaign with a 2-1 win against the Austrian outfit at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils progressed to the quarter-finals 7-1 on aggregate, but were made to work for the second-leg victory after falling behind to a stunning Phillip Wiesinger strike.
Solskjaer watched his side produce an instant response to that setback, as Jesse Lingard netted his second goal in as many games to level the scores just before the hour mark.
LASK regrouped to frustrate United in the final 20 minutes of the match, and the game appeared to be heading towards a stalemate until Martial was introduced to the action in the 84th minute.
The Frenchman latched on to a Juan Mata pass and dribbled his way into the box before sliding home his 23rd goal of the campaign, which spared the Red Devils’ blushes and kept confidence levels high ahead of Monday’s last-eight showdown against FC Copenhagen.
Solskjaer admitted that Martial pushed for his headline moment during his post-match interview, telling reporters: “We needed to win the game. Of course, I wanted to but I couldn’t get all of [the substitutes] on.
“We want to win and Anthony was begging to come on. But he promised a goal as well, so well done!”
The Norwegian head coach went on to highlight the changes Martial has made to his game in recent months, before discussing his team’s new-found creative streak in the final third of the pitch.
“Anthony has upped his work-rate,” Solskjaer said. “He’s working harder in training, he’s working harder in the games; his physical stats show that. He’s been an absolute joy to work with.
“His attitude has been spot on and him and Marcus [Rashford] have found and hit off a really good relationship. And with Mason [Greenwood] and Bruno [Fernandes] coming in, that’s improved us creating chances, the team’s creating more chances. And tonight great link play with Juan [Mata].”
Solskjaer added on the challenge Copenhagen will pose United next week: “I know Stale [Solbakken, their manager] really well. A good friend of mine.
“I did my pro licence study with him in Copenhagen, so I know what there is to know about Stale probably. And he probably knows what there is to know about me! I’m looking forward to it.”