Manchester United are into the Europa League quarter-finals after a win over AC Milan.

Key to United’s victory was a strong defensive performance, and this clearly made assistant boss Mike Phelan very happy.

Phelan sent a message out after United’s victory, hailing the defensive work from the team.

It has been clear all season that United have worked on improving the defence after a horrific start to the campaign which saw the team concede 11 goals in three Premier League games.

Since then the team have conceded only 21 in 26 league matches.

It hasn’t always been perfect, there have been bad moments from set pieces, like in the first leg against AC Milan.

AC Milan v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg Two
(Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Late in this match, Milan put the pressure on, and there were fears they could sneak an equaliser and force the tie to extra-time.

 

Dean Henderson was the star, making a terrific save to deny former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic from close range.

Henderson described the match as a ‘perfect night’ and from his perspective it really was.

This was a night he will cherish forever, a coming of age performance in one of the world’s most famous stadiums.

David de Gea may be rotated back into the side for the FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester, but it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see Henderson keep his place.

He has earned it, and he is playing at a high level. This felt like a ‘changing of the guard’ moment.

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