Ole Gunnar Solskjaer salutes Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford

Greenwood, Martial and Rashford all score as Man Utd book place in Europa League knockout phase with two games to spare

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Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised goalscorer Marcus Rashford after he guided Manchester United into the Europa League knockout phase

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saluted Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford after their "high-class" finishes sealed Manchester United's passage into the Europa League knockout stages.

Greenwood opened the scoring against Partizan Belgrade midway through the first half before a stunning solo effort from Martial saw United score two first-half goals at Old Trafford for the first time this season.

Rashford completed the victory with a rasping left-footed drive early in the second half as United qualified from Group L with two games to spare.

"I'm very pleased with all of those finishes, all three goals were high class," Solskjaer said.

Image: Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial fired United into a two-goal lead at half-time

"Of course, we should have had a few more, but the first one settled us down. Mason showed great composure; with the goalkeeper going down, he changed his mind and I was very happy with that.

"Anthony's was probably the skill of the night, and then I was very pleased Marcus scored with his left foot. He'll need more goals on his left because he is in that position often and he can go both ways.

"Marcus got in some great positions, made some great runs onto some great passes, the goalkeeper made some saves and the other times he didn't hit the target, but the goal he scored will give him loads of confidence.

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Marcus Rashford celebrates a goal for Man Utd
Image: Rashford scored his fifth goal in sixth games with United's third goal

"This is a little bit of a template of how we want to play. Of course, it's the opposition that allow you to play that way as well. No disrespect to Partizan, but they gave us spaces.

"It was pleasing for me that we went forward and needed the second and third, because there have been too many occasions where we've gone 1-0 up and not got the second or third.

"These boys are learning, tonight will give them loads of pointers on how to play when we are performing well, and even though the opposition was not the same as in the Premier League, there were still good principles."

Solskjaer: Why qualification was key

With United's passage already secure, Solskjaer welcomed the opportunity to rest players ahead of their gruelling trip to Astana in Kazakhstan on Matchday 5 in the Europa League.

"We want to get through as quick as we can, and that long trip to Kazakhstan is not one you want to travel to having to win," the United boss added.

"It might be possible to rest a few players for that trip now ahead of a tough week after that game, with games against Aston Villa, Spurs and Manchester City. So the win was important."

Solskjaer sweating on McTominay

Image: Scott McTominay limped off late on with an ankle injury

The only negative from an encouraging European night for United was the loss of Scott McTominay to an ankle injury in the closing stages.

Solskjaer is hopeful the Scotland international will recover in time for Sunday's Premier League clash with Brighton.

"It didn't look too good," Solskjaer said. "He went over on the inside of his ankle. He said he was going to be OK out on the pitch because he is tough but then he had to come off. I hope he will recover for Sunday, but I am not sure."

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