A sweetly struck Nemanja Matic half-volley in the first half was enough to give Solskjaer’s men the win on the night, although they couldn’t do enough to cancel out the two-goal deficit from the 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in the first leg.
Matic was subsequently shown a red card on the 75th minute, a decision that enraged the Red Devils boss, who chastised referee Kevin Friend for the decision and perceived inconsistency with failing to punish City.
The Norwegian gave a passionate post-match interview on Sky Sports in which he spoke in no uncertain terms what he made of the referee’s performance.
“Of course it’s hard to go here and score a goal here with eleven, let alone ten,” he said.
“Never a sending off. Absolute, for me, a joke. It’s ironic really that he gets a yellow card for his first foul, almost gets a yellow for his second which wasn’t a foul, and yes the last one is a yellow card but nowhere near us.
“How many times did they foul us? How many times was Dan James fouled. In the first half, Jesse.
“For me, it shouldn’t be like this because I’m so proud of the players, they’ve beaten City now twice in six weeks at their place. We’ve come so far with these boys. They’ve given us absolutely everything.”
Now out of the League Cup and having picked up fewer than half the points that leaders Liverpool have in the Premier League, Solskjaer’s chance of guiding United to silverware this season lies with the FA Cup or the Europa League.
Matic will now serve a one-match suspension for their match at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, but new signing Bruno Fernandes could potentially make his debut.
A deal has been agreed between Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon for the Portuguese signing, with his signing expected to be formalised after a medical on Thursday, and Solskjaer was asked about the new recruit after the match.
“Hopefully we’ll get it over the line and then we can talk more about the boy,” he responded.