Romelu Lukaku wants Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stay and has “no doubt” that the caretaker manager will get the Manchester United job on a permanent basis.
Parachuted in for the rest of the season when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December, the 1999 treble hero has presided over a remarkable upturn in fortunes.
Solskjaer has lost just one of 17 matches since taking over and managed to render that 2-0 loss to Paris St Germain meaningless by overseeing an extraordinary last-16 second leg win in France.
Marcus Rashford’s last-gasp spot-kick sealed a 3-1 win that saw United make history and progress to the quarter-finals on away goals after the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate.
Lukaku’s first-half brace gave United hope and the striker fully expects the Norwegian to get the job.
“I know he’s going to stay, there’s no doubt about that,” he told Viasport.
“He wants to stay, the players want him to stay. We’re doing really well, we’re playing like Manchester United should play.
“He’s a young coach, he has young players as well so it’s the perfect environment to develop and hopefully win trophies in the future.”
Lukaku pointed to the wins at Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal in another interview with beIN SPORTS, before asking: “What else does he have to do?”
United are into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2014 and have broken into the top four, having been 11 points off it when Mourinho was sacked.
Asked what Solskjaer has done, Lukaku said: “He’s done a lot. When I came back in, for me, personally he had a plan.
“He wanted me to be really sharp in three or four weeks and that’s what happened.
“We took three or four weeks, I did a lot of interval work and a lot of finishing and now I can say that I am fully fit.
“But then for the team, he made us play offensive football. He gives the young players confidence.
“Sometimes he’s tough but at the right time he knows also to give a compliment.
“In training we do a lot of small games, a lot of focus on our offensive part of the game and that’s what the players like.
“So, we just try to come in every game and win the games.”
Provided by Press Associate Sport
Caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaped praise on Manchester United‘s players after their jaw-dropping Champions League triumph at Paris St Germain.
Three weeks on from suffering a 2-0 home loss to the big-spending Ligue 1 champions, the visitors upset the odds to seal progress from this last-16 clash in remarkable fashion.
Romelu Lukaku scored either side of Juan Bernat’s effort in a frantic first half that made way for an edgy second period at the Parc des Princes, where the video assistant referee’s late intervention proved the catalyst to a remarkable win.
Marcus Rashford slammed home a stoppage-time spot-kick after referee Damir Skomina adjudged Presnel Kimpembe to have handled as United ran out 3-1 victors to see them through to the quarter-finals on away goals after it ended 3-3 on aggregate.
Solskjaer’s side embodied the positivity displayed by their manager and spirit synonymous with the club over the years as they became the first team in Champions League history to overcome a first-leg home loss by two goals in a knockout match.
"The plan was to be in the game with five or ten minutes to go and we were."— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 7, 2019
More quotes from Ole this way 👇
“I’ve got some fantastic memories,” the 1999 treble hero said. “Eh, football – that’s what it gives you.
“It’s special when you’re a coach or a manager doing it with your staff and players.
“The dressing room in there was absolutely unbelievable, just to see the whole club together with the owners, ex-managers, ex-players. Great atmosphere.”
Sir Alex Ferguson, Eric Cantona and co-owner Avram Glazer were among those to head to the dressing room to celebrate with the United players, who were heard chanting Solskjaer’s name after surely sealing the permanent manager’s position.
“I keep doing this job as best as I can every single day and let’s see where it takes us,” he said.
“It’s been a fantastic time with the players and the staff I’ve got working with me. I’m going to enjoy this job as long as I’ve got it.
PSG 1 - 3 Manchester United.— Nick Lee Kenya (@NickLeeKenya) March 7, 2019
Mbappe = £121.6m
T Silva = £37.8m
Di Maria = £56.7m
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knocked out PSG at Paris with Academy.
We are Manchester United. I'm dying of happiness. #MUFC #PSGMUN Paris pic.twitter.com/vAvh7QqKgg
“If it’s another two or three months, however long it is, I’m going to enjoy it, I’m going to smile.”
Solskjaer said “this is how we do things at Man United” when asked how Ferguson had reacted, while the interim boss lauded the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and Lukaku.
Rashford was also picked out for praise as the academy graduate fired home his first spot-kick for United to wrap things up.
“Absolutely fantastic,” Solskjaer said. “Fearless, the kid is. He’s got no doubt, no fear and when you’re young you don’t have any fear.
“Of course, I wasn’t sure we were going to score.
“I’ve been in Champions League before with Molde and we played Basel and we got a pen last minute to go through and we missed it, so of course that went through my mind.
“But Rashy and Rom were on penalties today. It was up to them to fight to get it and Rashy slotted it, brilliant.”
The decision to award the penalty after VAR review was controversial, with injured PSG star Neymar vocal in his anger.
“I didn’t see it,” Solskjaer said. “I’ve not seen the video. I hope it’s the right decision.
They got it.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the first half, either side of a Juan Bernat goal, and Marcus Rashford stepped up to slot home an ice-cool penalty in injury time to send the United fans in Paris into raptures.
Lukaku was at the heart of this brilliant comeback, and we put his performance under the scanner here.
Goals – 2
Shots – 2
Dribbles – 3
Aerials won – 5
Aerials won % – 56
Passing accuracy – 65%
Coming into this game on the back of two successive braces, Lukaku’s confidence was at a high, and it showed. He was sharpest to react in the second minute when Thilo Kehrer’s pass back to Gianluigi Buffon was under-hit, then again when the veteran Italian goalkeeper fumbled a skidding Rashford shot.
And though he tired in the second half, he kept at his task diligently, occupying PSG’s defence, cleverly finding his team-mates, and at the end, joining his own back-line to close out a famous win.
Both of Lukaku’s strikes were classic poachers’ goals. Yes, they relied on mistakes – one poor back pass, one error from Buffon, but it takes a good striker’s instincts to pounce on those moments. Lukaku, with his confidence at a high, was on hand to deliver.
As United sat deep facing wave after wave of PSG pressure, Lukaku was everywhere. Jose Mourinho often praised him for being a good right-back when the situation required, and the Belgian’s tracking back was superb. He ended the game as a third centre-back, which says it all.
Romelu Lukaku’s game by numbers vs. PSG:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 6, 2019
5 defensive aerial duels won
3 successful take-ons
2 shots on target
“Only scores against small teams” 😂 pic.twitter.com/2ZCfW8c3zs
Nothing. Even Lukaku’s much-maligned first touch was superb today, as the striker unveiled an array of flicks and tricks. He ran with purpose, linked up well, and led the line in his best display in a United shirt.
Lukaku has come under criticism this season and there was talk of a summer exit and being replaced by a superior striker. It’s taken the Belgian one week to win everyone over again.
Three straight braces, and the last one will be the most famous. They weren’t particularly great goals, but they helped United pull off one of the most significant wins in the recent history of the club.
At the moment, everything is going his way, and he can do no wrong.
RATING – 9/10