Odion Ighalo two goals ensured an all-Premier League FA Cup quarter-final line-up and comfortable win at Derby County.
Ighalo once again showed why his shock acquisition in January may yet prove to be shrewd business with two smart finishes to book a tie with Norwich at Carrow Road later this month.
The striker has now accumulated three goals from two starts as he overshadowed a reunion with United’s all-time leading goal scorer, Wayne Rooney at Pride Park.
“As long as my team-mates believe in me, the boss believes in me and the fans believe in me, I just have to keep going.” Said Ighalo.
“I don’t care what anyone says. We want to keep the momentum going and make sure we do great this season.”
Nine unbeaten for improving the Red Devils
Solskjaer has now stitched together a nine-game unbeaten run to move within sight of a place at Wembley.
Bruno Fernandes was again clearly a step above. He was a constant threat at the top of their midfield while Shaw had an excellent game at full-back.
He hit the fortuitous opener after Fernandes had a shot blocked volleying down into the ground. The ball appeared to take a touch off the back of Jesse Lingard and loop over Rams Keeper Kelle Roos’s head and in.
Another driving from Shaw then saw him pick out Ighalo inside the area. The former Watford man got the better of two half-hearted challenges from Craig Forsyth and Max Lowe to poke home.
Shaw had a shot saved by Roos in the second half after fine play from, Fernandes. However, Ighalo lashed his second into the roof of the net after his initial shot was blocked to seal the win.
Rooney still an influence
Rooney had his name chanted throughout by the thousands of away fans. The former United goal scorer came close with two fine free-kicks.
Rooney scored 253 goals for Manchester United before leaving in 2017. He has still never scored against them throughout his career.
The 34-year-old twice went close from free-kicks though, twice denied by excellent saves from Sergio Romero.
Rooney who led his new side in a pre-match huddle has moved from the rampaging teenage striker who was compared to Pele at his 2004 peak to a deep-lying midfielder who started the last time United won the trophy in 2016.
For Derby County, he was in a similar midfield role. Despite a lack of mobility, Rooney still remains an influence. Not only were his two free-kicks a threat, but he was also at the heart of their two other best second-half chances.
“Everyone loves Wayne. All the supporters at Manchester United appreciate what he did.” Said Solskjaer.
“He played well. He shows class and sometimes he has too much time on the ball for my liking.”