Ole appreciates the value of the Europa League
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is focusing on the positives of being involved in the UEFA Europa League and he wants to go all the way to the final in Gdansk.
While participation in the tournament means more Sunday fixtures for United, Arsenal and Wolves this term, and can bring long journeys to teams like Astana, the reward for the victors is a place in the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League.
Of course, the Reds lifted the trophy in 2017, thanks to a 2-0 success over Ajax in Stockholm and know all about the merits of the competition.
Partizan Preparations Gallery
Ole's Reds were put through their paces on Wednesday morning ahead of our Europa League clash.
Ole's men have made a positive start to Group L and have yet to concede a goal against the other three sides in the section - Astana, AZ Alkmaar and Thursday's opponents Partizan Belgrade.
Completing back-to-back wins over Partizan would guarantee qualification for the knockout stages next year, with two matches still to spare.
When asked for a big plus of the European campaign so far, the boss replied:
“We’ve seen some young players getting a chance and doing well. Mason [Greenwood] has given us a winner, Brandon [Williams] was fantastic in Belgrade.
”I thought Jimmy [Garner] came through that game really well. We have given other players a chance to play, which is important in the long run because you can’t keep playing with 12 or 13 men throughout the Premier League season.
“For me, it’s been good to give young kids a chance, good to see players, that have got more experience, play games because they need games. We’ve kept three clean sheets and that’s impressive.”
When asked if it was a chore to be involved in the Europa League with Premier League points a priority, the boss said:
“No, of course not. The last time we were in it, Ashley [Young, who was also at the press confernce] was in the squad and they won and got us through to the Champions League.
”Any competition you can get your hands on, you take. We’ve started really well and we want to get all the way to Gdansk.
The final takes place in Poland on 27 May.
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.