‘It’s never mission impossible’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer issues rallying cry to Manchester United stars before PSG salvation job… as Paul Pogba trains with team-mates despite his ban
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rallied Manchester United for their clash against PSG
- The Red Devils face a salvage job after losing the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford
- United’s task is harder because they travelled to Paris with a depleted squad
- Solskjaer refused to see his team written off, insisting PSG could wobble
- Paul Pogba seemed to train with the team despite being banned for the game
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rallied Manchester United for their Champions League salvage operation in Paris, and declared: ‘It’s never mission impossible.’
United trail after losing the first leg 2-0 at home to Paris Saint-Germain and Solskjaer was reminded that no team in the history of the European Cup or Champions League has recovered from that position to progress in 106 attempts.
United’s task is even harder because they travelled to Paris without the suspended Paul Pogba and nine injured players – Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Matteo Darmian.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rallied Manchester United for their Champions League clash against PSG
Solskjaer addressed the media alongside United defender Victor Lindelof on Tuesday
But he refused to see his team written off and warned that the French champions may wobble if United get the first goal at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
‘It’s never mission impossible,’ said Solskjaer. ‘Of course, it’s more difficult. We have got to get the first goal and then anything can happen. Goals always change games. If we get the first one, we’ll be believing even more and they might start doubting. But it’s important we get the first one.
‘We’ll never approach any game as a lost cause. The outside pressure is off and everyone expects us to go out easily, but that doesn’t happen with Man United players. Our pride was hurt the last time we played them so you’re going to see players who will give their all. Let’s hope PSG underperform.
‘When no-one believes in you there’s always that little bit of character we have to show ourselves. Making history is the motivation, it’s going through. These players are not used to losing. They were not happy with how we lost the home game, and at our best we can match them.’
United trail the French giants after losing the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford a fortnight ago
Paul Pogba appeared to train with his team-mates despite being banned for the second leg
The Frenchman received a red card during the first leg of the tie at Old Trafford a fortnight ago
Solskjaer tries to control the ball during a discussion with first-team coach Michael Carrick
Solskjaer pointed to Barcelona’s sensational comeback win to beat PSG from 4-0 down in 2017, and Real Madrid’s scare at the hand sof Juventus after leading 3-0 last season as examples of ties being turned on their head.
‘Everyone knows we ‘ve done it,’ he added. ‘The results in the Champions League the past few years have been strange – last year Juventus and Real Madrid and we all remember PSG and Barcelona – so there are many examples of teams that can change results like this.
‘We as a club have done it so many times. The players have been fantastic away from home, and we’ve beaten Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea.’
However, United have only won a single Champions League knockout tie – against Olympiacos in 2014 – since losing the final to Barcelona in 2011. Solskjaer insisted it is vital they don’t concede on Wednesday night but they face a PSG side that has scored in 23 consecutive Champions League games since losing 1-0 to Manchester City in the 2016 quarter-finals.
United travelled to the French capital with five teenagers – Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, James Garner, Brandon Williams – in their squad.
Diogo Dalot has been used as a makeshift right winger recently and could start the game there
Players loosened up on the Parc des Princes pitch just over 24 hours before the big kick-off
United have travelled to Paris with five teenagers – including Angel Gomes – in their squad
‘It’s just one of those situations that we come into,’ added Solskjaer. ‘We’ve lost a few players but we’ll cope with that and have a good team.
‘Brandon is a full-back who can play both sides and is quick. It’s the first time he’s travelled with us and didn’t expect to come, but that’s why you’re in the academy. We believe in you and suddenly you have to step up. That’s why we have good coaches to make them ready.
‘I think every young player who plays at this club is dreaming of coming on and having an impact like Rashy (Marcus Rashford). They must have the belief to make it and tomorrow night might be a chance for some of the young ones.’
Reflecting on the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford, he added: ‘I’ve got to say I was disappointed, yes. Unhappy is not the word but I was disappointed. We spoke at half-time about keeping a clean sheet because that’s going to be important and I was disappointed with the way we conceded the first goal. The next 10 minutes we looked all over the place.
‘It’s easy in hindsight to analyse and say we should have done this and done that in the heat of the moment. We made a couple of mistakes and at this level small mistakes are punished. You play against top-class players. You get away with it in the Premier League but not in the Champions League at the latter stages.’