Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo says he “doesn’t care what anybody says” about his surprise move to Old Trafford after his two goals ensured an all-Premier League FA Cup quarter-final line-up and comfortable win at Derby County.
January signing Ighalo again showed why his shock acquisition in January may yet prove to be a shrewd business with two smart finishes to book a tie with Norwich at Carrow Road later this month.
The 30-year-old now has three goals from just two starts and he overshadowed a reunion with United’s all-time leading goalscorer 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,” Ighalo said.
“I don’t care what anyone says. We want to keep the momentum going and make sure we do great this season.”
Rooney had his name chanted throughout by the thousands of away fans and came close with two fine free-kicks.
But from the moment left-back Luke Shaw’s deflected opener flew in the Premier League side were able to cruise into the last eight.
United have won the FA Cup 12 times – one behind Arsenal’s record haul – while Derby has now played in six fifth-round ties since 1999 and failed to reach the quarter-finals on each occasion.
Rooney scored 253 goals for Manchester United before leaving in 2017 and 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 this trophy in 2016.
For Derby he was in a similar midfield role, shielded from too much running duties by the youth of Max Bird and Louie Sibley alongside him. The duo has a combined age of just 37 and were toddlers when Rooney was announcing himself on the world stage.
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.
First, a sweeping 50-yard crossfield pass found Jayden Bogle, and his cross was headed wide by Martyn Waghorn. And then an even better ball from inside his own half released Rams sub-Jack Marriott, but Romero was once again equal to the effort.
“Everyone loves Wayne, all the supporters at Manchester United appreciate what he did,” said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“He played well. He shows class and sometimes he has too much time on the ball for my liking.”
Rooney can now turn his attentions towards helping Derby up the Championship table – although a play-off push looks ambitious at this stage.
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Source – BBC