The £35 million signing has struggled to make an impact since arriving from Ajax last summer.
Van de Beek was handed a rare start for United’s FA Cup tie at Old Trafford but after a subdued display and the score at 0-0, Solskjaer opted to replace him with Bruno Fernandes in the 73rd minute.
Van de Beek was criticised during the game by former United midfielder Mark Hughes who, whilst working as a pundit for talkSPORT, claimed that the Netherlands international was not trusted by his teammates.
But when it was suggested that Van de Beek had endured a ‘difficult’ game, Solskjaer said in his post-match press conference: ‘I thought the first half we and Donny played really well.
‘We created the spaces we wanted to and he was part of that.
‘He did his job really well, he was clean and tidy, had half a chance when Alex pulled the ball back to him.
‘Of course, the second half the whole team fell off a little bit and we wanted to make a few changes.’
Scott McTominay scored the winner in extra time to secure a 1-0 victory for United, and Solskjaer admits his side need to be more clinical in front of goal.
‘I felt we dominated. I thought we were in complete control of the first half,’ said the United manager.
‘In the second half it became more of a game. When it’s only 1-0 and we are wasteful, anything can happen to us, we knew that from the last game [Everton]. It’s just about finishing the game off but we’re through. We’re in the hat and that’s what we wanted.
‘I think we got about 15 to 17 shots in the end but we need to be more clinical. We should’ve finished the game off earlier and finished in 90 minutes but sometimes it doesn’t happen.
‘We needed to have a good result and a good feeling today because we were low after the Everton game. It’s hard to take but they were really focused and did the job.
‘Of course you want to win every game. We want to challenge and we want to go to the final. That’s what we’re here at Manchester United for. Sometimes you’re lucky with draws in the cup, we haven’t been that lucky, but obviously we move another step closer to the final.’
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