Memories of treble win

Marcus Rashford's Manchester United, three-time winners, will face Lionel Messi's five-time champions Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. United lost the last two meetings between the sides - the 2009 and 2011 finals.
Marcus Rashford's Manchester United, three-time winners, will face Lionel Messi's five-time champions Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. United lost the last two meetings between the sides - the 2009 and 2011 finals.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Solskjaer, who scored the winner in the 1999 final at Nou Camp, relishing clash with Barca

NYON • For Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and assistant Mike Phelan, travelling to the Nou Camp for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie brings back memories of the 1999 final.

The Norwegian came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner against Bayern Munich at Barcelona's stadium, while the Briton was Alex Ferguson's right-hand man that night.

Phelan yesterday tweeted of his excitement after the Red Devils were drawn against the Spanish champions, who are in the quarter-finals for the 12th successive season, recalling it was "many a happy memory" before telling his team to "get down to business".

Solskjaer also cracked a joke at the magnitude of the pairing, claiming he had "so many texts from friends saying this year is going to be the year because of my number, 20, and it being 20 years ago".

Recalling the moment he sealed the historic treble, the interim boss told the club website: "It was the biggest night I've had in football... It'll be a good game."

But former United boss David Moyes was less enthused, describing the tie as "an incredibly tough draw" although he believes Solskjaer's men "can take anyone" following their heroics against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.

  • CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

  • QUARTER-FINALS

    1 Ajax v Juventus

    2 Liverpool v Porto

    3 Tottenham v Man City

    4 Man United v Barcelona

    1st leg: April 9 & 10

    2nd leg: April 16 & 17

    SEMI-FINALS:

    Winner of Q1 v winner of Q3,

    winner of Q2 v winner of Q4

  • EUROPA LEAGUE

    QUARTER-FINALS

    1 Arsenal v Napoli

    2 Slavia Prague v Chelsea

    3 Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt

    4 Villarreal v Valencia

    1st leg: April 11;

    2nd leg: April 18

    SEMI-FINALS:

    Winner of Q1 v winner of Q4,

    Winner of Q2 v winner of Q3

He told Sky Sports: "The Barca game is a great one, I still see them as favourites for the competition. It will be a good match.

"Ole going back to the Nou Camp will be big for him. It's the sort of occasion United are used to."

The Scot also felt "even if it's a draw going into the Nou Camp, that isn't the worst thing" with United more than capable of nicking a good result on their travels, as proven in Paris.

Barcelona will visit Old Trafford in the first leg after Uefa switched the order to avoid United's home match clashing with Manchester City, who host Tottenham in the second leg of their last-eight tie.

With both sides meeting three times in 10 days in April with a Premier League fixture following hot on the heels of their second leg, the all-English clash does not do City's title hopes or Spurs' top-four aspirations any favours.

However, Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris feels that having "already proved against Barca away", his team "are ready to compete", before conceding "you then need a little luck and team spirit" against Pep Guardiola's side.

Meanwhile, Juventus meet Ajax, who are back in the last eight after a 16-year absence, while Liverpool will face Porto in a repeat of last year's last-16 tie, which they won 5-0 on aggregate.

While Juventus and Liverpool fans were understandably thrilled on social media, the respective club officials urged caution over underestimating their opponents.

Labelling the Dutch side as "no joke", Juventus director Pavel Nedved said: "We will have to be very careful. We will have to face Ajax with great commitment."

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp also refuted suggestions they had the "best" possible outcome, insisting: "We've played there already, and we know how good we had to be. We saw the character and quality Porto have."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2019, with the headline 'Memories of treble win'. Print Edition | Subscribe