‘These nights are special’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer relishing Man United’s Champions League showdown with PSG as he continues his job audition
- Manchester United play Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday in first leg of last-16 tie
- Prospect of facing the French champions was daunting when draw was made
- But interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has transformed mood in the club
- United have won 10 of their 11 matches since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho
- And the Norwegian predicts another memorable night at Old Trafford
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking forward to the sort of big European night Old Trafford has been missing of late when Manchester United face Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.
Few gave United much of a chance in this fixture when the draw was made in December, but Solskjaer has transformed the atmosphere around the club with 10 wins and one draw in 11 matches, and there is now a huge sense of anticipation about this Champions League clash.
‘The players and the supporters have been looking forward to this,’ Solskjaer said. ‘These nights are special.’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is relishing Manchester United’s Champions League tie with PSG
PSG striker Kylian Mbappe trains at Old Trafford on the eve of the last-16, first leg match
They are the sort of games Solskjaer was used to in his United playing career under Sir Alex Ferguson.
‘My last one was when we beat Roma 7-1 (in 2007),’ he said. ‘That was a typical Old Trafford night. We’d lost 2-1 away from home but the manager was happy. He said, ‘We’ll be alright, we’ll win at home’, he was so confident in our ability.
‘I want my players to go into this game with confidence and embrace it.’
With the PSG game followed by an FA Cup clash against Chelsea and a Premier League meeting with title challengers Liverpool, Solskjaer can further strengthen his credentials to land the Old Trafford job full-time over the next two weeks.
The impact he has had makes him the favourite already, and the Norwegian admits his caretaker spell has gone better than expected so far.
Solskjaer cited United’s famous 7-1 win over Roma back in 2007 as a really special night
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Alan Smith after scoring United’s fifth goal of the night
Solskjaer scored United’s stoppage time winner to win the Champions League in 1999
Man United fixtures
Premier League unless stated
February 12 Paris Saint-Germain (H)
Champions League last-16, first leg
February 18 Chelsea (A)
FA Cup fifth round
February 24 Liverpool (H)
February 27 Crystal Palace (A)
March 2 Southampton (H)
March 6 Paris Saint-Germain (A)
Champions League last-16, second leg
‘Before I came in of course I couldn’t (expect this),’ he said. ‘You always expect to win every game of football when you have players like this and you’re at a club like this but we know we’re not going to win every single game.
‘I think the players are still disappointed with the two points lost against Burnley and so am I.
‘I’ve loved every single minute of it. We knew we had a big challenge in front of us because we were far behind in the league, confidence was low after the defeat to Liverpool but they have responded fantastically.
‘I don’t think we could be in a better frame of mind and we’re looking forward to the next few games.’