Scott McTominay vowed to “give it absolutely everything” at AC Milan as Manchester United look to progress from a finely-poised Europa League tie in a crunch week for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
The Red Devils kicked off what the 1999 treble hero called a “massive” period ahead of the international break by overcoming high-flying West Ham with a solid 1-0 win on Sunday.
An own goal by Craig Dawson proved enough for United to secure a victory that will see them end March second in the Premier League standings as attention now turns to two huge knockout cup games.
Solskjaer’s side travel to Italy for the second leg of their Europa League round-of-16 clash against Milan on Thursday with the scoreline at 1-1, before heading to Leicester on Sunday in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
“Obviously we had a lot of chances throughout the game but we know them really well, West Ham,” midfielder McTominay said.
“We know they’re a tough team to play against and that’s why they’re so high up in the league.
“They’ve got amazing threats all over the pitch who are difficult to play against and for us to come out with three points is massive, to be fair. It is a really big result that one.
“We’re coming off the back of three games in a week so it’s been tough.
“We’ve got a longer period now until the next game, an extra day’s rest so, for us, get the feet up, rest really well and obviously go to Milan and give it absolutely everything we’ve got.
“The games after that, we’ll just take them whenever needs be.”
McTominay was awarded the assist for getting a touch on Bruno Fernandes’ corner before Dawson turned into his own goal on Sunday, when Mason Greenwood shone in attack and twice hit the woodwork.
The 19-year-old was named in the England Under-21s squad for their Euro 2021 group-stage campaign on Monday and is getting back to the impressive form shown last season.
“Mason was brilliant,” McTominay said of his fellow academy graduate. “Mason was top – top, top drawer.
“He was so direct, he was very confident whenever he had the ball, but, yeah, as I say ‘every week, Mas, now that’s got to be the benchmark, that’s got to be the standard now every single game’.
“That work-rate, that intensity and I’m seeing it every single week, to be fair, from him so long may it continue.”
The win over West Ham was an impressive response to the last-gasp disappointment of conceding a late away goal to Milan on Thursday.
The defence and Dean Henderson came under scrutiny after that stoppage-time blow, but the backline held firm impressively on Sunday as they kept a fourth successive league clean sheet for the first time under Solskjaer.
“The boys at the back were tremendous,” McTominay told MUTV. “Obviously Shawy [Luke Shaw] has been nothing short of absolutely fantastic all season.
“H [Harry Maguire] has become more and more of a presence every single week, with Victor (Lindelof) and Eric (Bailly) coming into the team when the boss decides to rotate and stuff.
“For us, it’s important that we do keep clean sheets because that’s the foundation there.
“That’s the foundation now your attacking players, your midfield players, need to go and score goals and make stuff happen. It’s good all round.”
West Ham’s attack was nullified on what frontman Michail Antonio called a “frustrating evening” – a loss he hopes they can make up for against Arsenal in the Premier League this Sunday.
“It shows the resilience that we have and in every game we’re going to keep doing that and keep pushing forward,” Antonio told West Ham TV.
“Every game we come to, we believe that we can get something from it. We didn’t get something today, so hopefully on Sunday we can.
“I think we owe them something. Over the last couple of games that we’ve played them, we’ve played well and they’ve managed to nick it at the end, so hopefully this time we’ll manage to get the three points.”