Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United’s belief is comparable to the celebrated side he starred for in 1999 as they prepare to tackle a tall task against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
United are 2-0 down heading into the second leg of their last-16 tie at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday and without suspended midfield talisman Paul Pogba.
Alexis Sanchez added to a stacked injury list when he suffered apparent knee ligament damage during Saturday’s 3-2 win over Southampton and, with Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata having all succumbed to muscular injuries of late, Solskjaer could be without 10 senior first-team players.
“We know it’s going to be difficult,” the caretaker manager, who was also missing defensive trio Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia at the weekend, told reporters.
“We played them here and they’re a good team, and we’ve got loads of injuries, but there are a few boys here who will want to be a part of it.”
Solskjaer famously scored the stoppage-time winner as United completed a late turnaround against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final at Camp Nou.
That treble-winning campaign was typified by sensational comebacks – notably against Juventus in the semi-finals, while Ryan Giggs’ FA Cup semi-final winner against Arsenal was only possible after Peter Schmeichel kept out a Dennis Bergkamp penalty.
“I have to say that we felt invincible,” Solskjaer said.
“We felt that every game we were in with a chance to win, from the way we won it against Arsenal in that FA Cup semi-final.
“That belief is here now, I have to say. They’re confident going into the game, even knowing we’re 2-0 down.
“We have to get goals in this game. If we get an early one, then suddenly we’re in with a shout.
“Our players know what we’re capable of and we’ve spoken about it.
“They know they’re part of a special club that can do something like this. We’re not going to go there and lay down. We’re going to give it a go.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 2, 2019
One significant boost for Solskjaer ahead of the trip to the French capital is Romelu Lukaku hitting a rich vein of form in front of goal.
The Belgium striker has endured some barren spells this term but made it back-to-back doubles with a brace in the Southampton win.
“He’s responded fantastically to everyone who wants to criticise him because there’s no-one who practices finishing as much as he does,” Solskjaer added.
“He scores so many goals in training. If we did a score chart in training, he’s the one that scores the most by a mile.”
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