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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020

'That's why Rojo is still here' - Solskjaer hails Man United defender

The Red Devils boss heaped praise upon the Argentine defender after watching his side book a place in the next round of the Europa League.

Marcos Rojo (file pic).
Marcos Rojo (file pic).
Image: Alex Livesey

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER labelled Marcos Rojo a “top-quality footballer” after the centre-back helped Manchester United earn a clean sheet against Partizan Belgrade.

United picked up a fourth win in their last five matches across all competitions when Serbian opposition arrived at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

Mason Greenwood’s smart finish opened the scoring in the 21st minute, before Anthony Martial’s delightful solo effort doubled the home side’s advantage just after the half-hour mark.

Marcus Rashford’s powerful drive completed a 3-0 victory for the Red Devils shortly after the half-time interval, which ensured their progress to the last 32 of this season’s Europa League.

Rojo was handed his sixth appearance of the 2019-20 campaign, lining up in the heart of the defence alongside Harry Maguire.

The Argentina international posted a 91% pass completion rate and kept Partizan at bay with relative ease throughout the contest, while also helping to kick-start several threatening attacks.

Solskjaer opted to retain Rojo’s services during the summer transfer window despite interest from a number of clubs, including Premier League rivals Everton.

The Norwegian feels his decision has been vindicated by Rojo recent performances, as he told a post-match press conference: “I thought he was excellent.

He’s been excellent since he started in pre-season. He’s played more than he, maybe, expected. That’s why he’s still here and he’s a top-quality footballer.

“He’s a winner, with a good mentality, he can pass and he can defend. It’s now about keeping him fit and he’s been fit for a long time. You can see his qualities.”

Solskjaer added on the defender’s unique “passion” for the game: “He’s got such a big heart and such a passion for football.

“He’s a winner. To have him around when he’s fit and in a good mood, it’s been great for us. 

The boys love him and he sometimes spreads fear in training because he tackles properly. He’s one of the ones who really cares about the game.”

United will now switch their focus back to the Premier League, with a crucial home fixture against Brighton up next on Sunday afternoon.

Solskjaer’s side cannot afford to lose any more ground on fourth-placed Chelsea before the international break, having already fallen 10 points behind their rivals.

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