Don't write Manchester United off: Ole

Manchester United will need to be wary of French forward Kylian Mbappe, who scored the second goal in the 2-0 first-leg win at Old Trafford. He is Paris Saint-Germain's main attacking threat in the absence of the injured Neymar.
Manchester United will need to be wary of French forward Kylian Mbappe, who scored the second goal in the 2-0 first-leg win at Old Trafford. He is Paris Saint-Germain's main attacking threat in the absence of the injured Neymar.PHOTO: REUTERS

Interim boss urges fringe players to step up, hopes away form can overturn 2-0 deficit against PSG

PARIS • Manchester United travelled to Paris yesterday without 10 first-team players and facing a two-goal deficit, but the odds are not insurmountable for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose players "feel invincible".

The Red Devils will be boosted for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie by the presence of former manager Alex Ferguson, who was on the same team plane, with Solskjaer's men seeking to invoke the spirit of their European Cup-winning campaign in 1999 against Paris-Saint Germain today.

Such is the squad's self-belief after a run of 12 wins in 15 games in all competitions since the Norwegian took over on an interim basis in December, and they now "feel that every game we are in with a chance to win".

And, after a club-record eight straight away victories, the caretaker boss believes his short-handed team, who will also be without the suspended Paul Pogba, are "not going to go out without giving a fight".

In an interview posted on the club's website, he said: "We can't write games off, we've been fantastic away from home.

"We're going to go out there and enjoy the game. We know it's (Parc des Princes) a difficult place to come and they played really well at Old Trafford, so it's a great challenge for our players to go out there and show what they can do.

"They go into away games now knowing that we can defend well and we've got pace on the counter. They've been very confident away from home so hopefully, we can take that to Paris because we have to - we're playing against top, top players."

NOT SITTING BACK

We'd rather win 4-2 than try to get a 2-0. We've got to get to half-time better off than we are now. If you can get to 1-0 at half-time, then anything can happen in the second half.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, Manchester United interim manager, hinting that his team will attack from the start.


PLAYING WITHOUT FEAR

With the injuries we've got, the position we're in, going to Paris is a tough place to go... but the really impressive performances have been away from home. The players they've got are suited to playing away from home.

RYAN GIGGS, United legend and Wales manager, on his former team having what it takes to beat PSG today.

Pinpointing his aim to at least pull back a goal in the first half, Solskjaer added: "We'd rather win 4-2 than try to get a 2-0. We've got to get to half-time better off than we are now. If you can get to 1-0 at half-time, then anything can happen in the second half.

"They are confident going into the game, even knowing that we are 2-0 down... we have got loads of injuries, but there's a few boys here that will want to be part of it.

"Certainly, for our players, they know what we are capable of and we have spoken about it. They know that they are part of a special club that can do something like this.

"We have got to go for it. We have a mountain to climb, but we have quality players."

While United have been forced to bring along five academy players after a growing casualty list including Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Anthony Martial, Phil Jones and Alexis Sanchez, club great Ryan Giggs thinks a comeback win is "not impossible".

Speaking at a Champions League trophy tour event in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Wales manager backed calls for Solskjaer to take the reins on a full-time basis, saying: "I can't see anyone past Ole at the moment. The record they've had in the league has been phenomenal.

"It's a tough league and to put together the run that he's done, it's impressive.

"With the injuries we've got, the position we're in, going to Paris is a tough place to go... but the really impressive performances have been away from home.

"The players they've got are suited to playing away from home."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


PSG V MAN UNITED

Singtel TV Ch110 & StarHub Ch214, tomorrow, 3.55am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Don't write united off: Ole'. Print Edition | Subscribe