Odion Ighalo has promised to continue giving “everything” for Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer after the Nigerian bagged a maiden brace for the club on Thursday.
Ighalo outshone former United captain and record scorer Wayne Rooney as Manchester United dispatched Derby County 3-0 to set up an all-Premier League FA Cup quarterfinal clash with Norwich City.
The 30-year-old, in his second start for the Red Devils, showed great strength to dislodge two Derby defenders and poke home his first of the night in the first half following Luke Shaw’s opener.
He then exhibited remarkable awareness, dexterity and technique to complete his brace in the second period, smacking the ball into the top corner with his left foot after his initial right-footed shot was cleared off the line.
It marked his first brace in English football since scoring twice for Watford against Liverpool in a Premier League tie in December 2015.
It was also the first time he’s scored in consecutive starts in all competitions for English clubs since December 2015 for Watford, when he scored in four in a row.
He’d scored on his maiden start for United against Club Brugge in the Europa League exactly a week ago on Thursday and appears to be at his lethal best in the Cups.
Reacting to his performance, the former Watford striker expressed satisfaction with his goals and United’s quarterfinal berth but contended that their overall showing could have been better.
“The most important thing we won today and we are through to the next round that’s the most important thing I’m happy for the goals but we can still do better than we did today,” Ighalo said.
The striker who has now scored three times for United in six appearances in all competitions as he continues to justify Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s decision to bring him to Old Trafford.
And he says his performances have been spurred by a desire to reward the Norwegian for believing in him enough to grant him his lifelong dream of playing for Manchester United.
Ighalo credited Solsjkaer, a former United striker himself, with improving his finishing and declared himself glad to be under the tutelage of the United legend.
“He’s been great, he’s the one who worked hard to bring me here, and I have to pay him back with my hard work with everything,” Ighalo said.
“He has taught me a lot in training and in games, some mistakes as a striker he’s told me what to do in the box and I’m happy I’m learning from a great manager and a great former striker.”