Man Utd march on to the Europa League quarter-finals after an underwhelming win over LASK.
United’s progression had long been a foregone conclusion, but LASK made things difficult for them, briefly threatening an upset before United turned things around through Lingard and Martial.
Man Utd get ready to head to Germany for that quarter-final in a neutral venue. They weren’t at their best here but they should still be one of the favourites to lift the Europa League trophy in Cologne later this month.
Man Utd will face Copenhagen in the single-leg quarter-final early next week after Copenhagen defeated Istanbul Basaksehir 3-1 on aggregate.
Solskjaer will know his team for that game now, as none of his fringe players have really made a claim for a starting spot.
A 5-0 lead from the first leg before lockdown turned this tie into the deadest of rubbers and gave Solskjaer the chance to make changes again.
He has used 36 players in Europe this season, a record for the competition. Once again, however, United’s strength in depth was found lacking.
When people question the club’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho because they already have Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford in the wide positions, this is why. On one flank, Juan Mata looked like a 32-year-old in need of game time.
On the other, Dan James played like a man whose season has been petering out for some time.
Elsewhere, United were sloppy in possession and lacked pace and creativity without their key players.
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
MAN UTD (4-2-3-1): Romero 6.5; Fosu-Mensah 6 (Mengi 84), Bailly 6, Maguire 6.5, Williams 6.5 (Chong 72, 6); Fred 5 (Pereira 64, 6.5), McTominay 6; Mata 7, Lingard 7 (Pogba 63, 6), James 5 (Martial 84); Ighalo 5.5.
Subs: Grant, Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood, Wan-Bissaka, Matic, Garner.
Scorer: Lingard 57
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 6
LASK (3-4-3): Schlager 6; Wiesinger 7 (Sabitzer 73, 6), Trauner 6.5, Andrade 6.5 (Filipovic 80); Ranftl 6.5, Holland 6, Michorl 5.5, Renner 7; Frieser 6, Raguz 7, Balic 6 (Reiter 66, 6).
Subs: Lawai, Gebauer, Ramsebner, Muller, Wostry, Haudum, Celic.
Scorer: Wiesinger 55
Manager: Dominik Thalhammer 7
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (Greece) 6
LASK deserved to take the lead when Philipp Wiesinger put them in front with an excellent finish 10 minutes after half-time, but Jesse Lingard equalised with his second goal in as many games.
Fireworks were set off several times outside Old Trafford early in the second half and we were sorely in need of some inside the ground as well. Wiesinger rose to the challenge with a super goal to put LASK in front after 55 minutes.
Once again, United were less convincing in clearing their lines from a corner and the ball reached the LASK defender 25 yards from goal.
Wiesinger kept his composure and guided the ball with his right foot beyond Romero and into the top corner.
The lead last barely two minutes before United struck back.
Mata swung a pass over the top of the Austrians’ defence to send Lingard clear and he had more than enough time to pick his spot before slipping the ball past Alexander Schalger.
Once again, however, United’s strength in depth was found lacking.
When people question the club’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho, this is why. They lacked creativity for long periods and were sloppy in possession.