Ole Gunnar Solskjær was proud of his Cardiff City squad following their FA Cup win away at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, the result securing a place in the fifth round draw and the chance to build momentum and the all-important winning habit.
Fraizer Campbell’s instinctive second half finish on a tight angle proved decisive, though the Cardiff City boss was able to find more positives than the impression made by his half time substitutions.
“Initially we did well in terms of possession, but didn't have too many shots and didn't threaten Bolton enough,” Ole said after the match. “In the second half we played a lot better, the subs made an instant impact, while we also defended really well.
“My back five were outstanding overall. The clean-sheet was satisfying also, something we’ve highlighted and worked on lately, the need to defend well, which is exactly what the lads did. For David (Marshall) also, he’s a top goalkeeper who has had an outstanding season so far in the Premier League. Today he was called upon to make a few important contributions; one in particular a fantastic reaction save.”
Ole then went on to explain his decision to make changes to the starting eleven, along with the second half introduction of Fraizer Campbell and Craig Noone, saying, "It’s an important part of my job to select the right team from the start. We have matches coming on Tuesday and Saturday and those fixtures were in the back of my mind when I selected the team to play Bolton.
“I gave the two lads half a game rest. I felt it was the right time to put them on after half-time with Fraizer able to run the channels. Good players make an impact and Fraizer and Craig are good players. It was an instinctive finish by Fraizer after one of those big runs by Craig. It was probably our best move of the day, so I'm happy with that.
“Their keeper was perhaps a little unfortunate to lose control of the ball, though it was still a quality finish and reaction from Fraizer, which is what he’s here for. He’s a top striker - he’s dynamic and athletic. It’s also important for me to rest him at times, but he’s come on and scored a good goal to see us in the draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup, which is great.
“It’s a fantastic competition. For me, after the Champions League it’s the best competition to play in, giving you the chance to win a trophy. For us, it’s our only chance this year to do that, which is what we’ll try to do.
“For the fifth round match I’d like a home game next if at all possible. We’ve had two tough away games so far, at Newcastle and Bolton. I don't know how long it's been since Cardiff were last drawn at home, but I hope the draw gives us that after the win here today.”
With the focus now shifting quickly back to the Premier League, the former Manchester United striker is looking forward to his Old Trafford return on Tuesday night, with the Red Devils having just secured a key signature and a record signing.
For Ole, the addition only enhances the occasion, saying, “We are trying to implement our ideas and we will go out against United and enjoy it. We defended well against Bolton, we worked hard and want to do the same against United. They have signed Juan Mata, one of the top players in European football. He has been fantastic with Chelsea over the last couple of years. United have signed a top, top player there.
“It’s what we’re here for, to play against the best players to test ourselves. We’ve recently played against Manchester City with the likes of David Silva, Sergio Agüero, Edin Džeko, Álvaro Negredo… the list goes on. On Tuesday we’ll be tested again, which is how my players will improve as professionals, by playing against the best out there.
“Winning against Bolton is perfect preparation for Tuesday's match. This will help the players feel confident.”