United bank on 'Goal threats'

Manchester United will be relying on attacking players like Anthony Martial (third from right) when they visit the Nou Camp to face Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final. The LaLiga giants lead 1-0 from the first leg.
Manchester United will be relying on attacking players like Anthony Martial (third from right) when they visit the Nou Camp to face Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final. The LaLiga giants lead 1-0 from the first leg.PHOTO: REUTERS

Solskjaer says his team 'dreaming' of another upset as he unleashes attacking trio on Barca

BARCELONA • In Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, Manchester United have a "decent plan" in place to put an end to Barcelona's streak of 30 unbeaten games in the Champions League at home - a competition record.

Calling on his attacking trio, who are likely to start, to draw on the spirit of their comeback win against Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said ahead of the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final today: "You look at the quality of those players and that gives us a threat.

"We carry a goal threat but, of course, what we did against PSG must give everyone a huge confidence boost because that experience was probably the best they have had for many years.

"They are probably dreaming about another at the Nou Camp."

The trip to Barcelona also carries special significance for the United boss - it will mark the 20th anniversary of his added-time strike as the Red Devils beat Bayern Munich in the 1999 final to lift the treble.

However, Solskjaer will not let sentiment cloud his preparations as he attempts to conjure up another victory against all the odds in Spain, with his team trailing 1-0.

Telling BBC Sport he will instead be "so focused and concentrated", the Norwegian said: "Of course, the goal I have probably seen a million times. I don't mind being remembered for something like that.

"I will have my last little gut feeling on who to play, sometimes you do get those hunches.

 
 
 

"Against PSG, I had a team in mind when I travelled in the morning, walked out into the stadium, saw the stadium and thought, 'No, I will change'. I can't wait."

But David de Gea knows their opponents are desperate to make amends for their collapse against Roma at the same stage last season and make the semi-finals for the first time since 2015.

Admitting that they faced a "big challenge", the United and Spain goalkeeper said: "We will try to fight and win the game.

"It's a special occasion, in Spain against Barcelona, a Champions League night, so it's going to be an amazing game."

And it is the advantage Ernesto Valverde's men hold that has led former United boss Jose Mourinho to tip the Spanish champions to progress to the next phase.

Despite conceding "every club has a chance", the Portuguese told Russian TV network RT that Barcelona " have a little advantage".

He added: "They are winning one-nil and now play at home. You have everything open for you when you start feeling you can."

In Turin, Cristiano Ronaldo will spearhead Juventus' old guard as they look to finish the job today against Ajax's impressive young guns in a last-eight clash between two sides desperate to end years of Champions League heartbreak.

The Italian champions have the edge on away goals thanks to Ronaldo's 125th Champions League goal following the 1-1 draw in Amsterdam, but the tie - a repeat of the 1973 and 1996 finals - remains on a knife-edge.

Juventus are looking to reach a third semi-final in five seasons, while the Dutch outfit have not made it to the last four since 1997.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2019, with the headline 'United bank on 'Goal threats''. Print Edition | Subscribe