Young: It's an unbelievable achievement
Ashley Young described Manchester United's epic Champions League last-16 victory over Paris Saint-Germain as one of his best experiences in football.
The odds were stacked against United before kick-off, with Paul Pogba's suspension for a red card in the first leg adding him to the list of absent or injured players. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were also attempting to do something never achieved before in the history of the Champions League - a visiting team overcoming a two-goal deficit in the second leg.
“It’s up there with the best [experience], because of the way we were written off after the first leg,” Young told MUTV.
“It was all about PSG and we had no chance to win the tie, but us in that dressing room, the players and the staff had the belief that we would go out there and not just win the game, but score goals. We knew there would be chances in the game.We came in at half-time and we said that there were more chances to win, but we don’t have to try and get it straight away, there’s 45 minutes to get that winner. We had to play until the last kick of the game.
'It's an incredible night'Video
Drama surrounded the final few minutes at the Parc des Princes when the referee awarded a penalty to the Reds with the aid of VAR, after Presnel Kimpembe was deemed to have handled the ball inside the penalty area.
When Young spoke to MUTV after the game, he was in awe of how Marcus Rashford remained cool, calm and collected as he stepped up to take the spot-kick, despite the pressure that would have no doubt been on the youngster's shoulders.
“For the kid to step up and take the penalty, it just shows how he’s got nerves of steel to be honest,” Young said.
“The celebrations show everything. It meant so much to everyone in the squad, every member of staff there tonight.
”Look where we’ve come from, with 10 injured first-team players as well. It’s an incredible achievement and we’re all delighted.
Paris Saint-Germain had gone into the knockout stages of the competition with ties from previous seasons hanging over them. After carrying a 4-0 lead into the second leg, the Ligue 1 side famously collapsed at the Camp Nou in 2016 and Young believes memories of that led to nerves creeping into the way the hosts played as the game went on.
“I think that happened in the first half,” he said.
“You could sense that the crowd were turning and getting on their backs and whether a few of their players looked a bit nervous I’m not too sure, but we just had to keep concentrating on ourselves and that’s what we did.
”We had a game plan and every man stuck to that game plan that the staff had drilled into us and we stuck to it magnificently and we nullified them, we frustrated them. You could tell that they were getting frustrated by not passing the ball where they wanted to and finding gaps, because we closed those gaps up.
Highlights: PSG 1 United 3Video
Around 2,000 United fans had the privilege of being in attendance, however you would have thought there were at least 10 times that amount due to the noise created from the pocket of supporters tucked away in the corner of the Parc des Princes.
“To obviously see the United fans in that corner, you would never have thought it was just them in that corner they were so loud. They were always behind us. Even the players on the pitch when we scored and then they scored, we knew the tie wasn’t over. We knew there was still chances, there was still goals. It wasn’t easy, it was tough. It’s just an incredible night.”