Manchester United come into their Champions League last 16, second leg away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday with a mountain to climb and with a squad decimated by injury, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains optimistic his team can turn the tie around.
The Old Trafford side lost the first leg 2-0 at home last month, making their chances of reaching the quarter-finals appear minimal, even if PSG have squandered far bigger leads in Europe in the recent past.
Two years ago, they won 4-0 against Barcelona at the same stage, only to lose 6-1 in the return, although on that occasion the second leg was away from home.
“We all remember those results, so there are so many examples of teams that can change results like this. Us as a club, we have done it so many times,” the Norwegian said at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday.
“The players have been fantastic away from home, we have beaten Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, which has given us belief that we can do this as well.”
The Premier League side have travelled to France without as many as 10 players due to injury or suspension, with Solskjaer confirming that Alexis Sanchez will be out for up to six weeks with a knee problem.
Their form has been excellent, though, and last Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Southampton means the PSG first leg remains their only defeat in 16 matches since Solskjaer replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho in the dugout. They have won all eight away games played in that time.
“It is just one of these situations that we have come into, that we have lost a few players, but we’ll cope with that, we’ll have a good team out there,” the Norwegian said of the injury woes which have led to five academy players making up the squad of 20.
Does that mean his team will be able to play without pressure in Paris?
“You can say that because we are 2-0 down after a home game, but we’ll never approach any game as a lost cause,” insisted the 46-year-old, who was on the losing side here with Norwegian side Molde in a Cup Winners’ Cup tie back in 1995.
“Of course we put pressure on ourselves that we can do this, but I think the outside pressure is off, I think everyone expects us to go out and go out easily, but that doesn’t happen with Man United players.
“We are hurt, I think our pride was hurt last time we played them, so we are going to see players that are going to give their all, and if we get nine or 10 at least playing up to the top standard we have a good chance. We can carry one or two, maybe.”
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