Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer: Carabao Cup is vital for my young Reds

Tuesday 17 December 2019 10:35

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits there is a sense of excitement around his young and determined Manchester United squad, ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at Old Trafford.

The Reds are preparing to host Colchester United beneath the floodlights and, while the League Two side pose a clear challenge, this match represents an excellent opportunity to reach the semi-finals.  

Those two-legged, last-four ties are scheduled to take place in early and late January, before the League Cup’s showpiece final is held at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 1 March. 

While there is still a long way to go yet, with a test to come on Wednesday, Solskjaer understands the importance of winning a trophy, particularly in the early stages of a young player’s career.

That sentiment is especially applicable to this fledgling Reds squad of 2019/20.

Solskjaer: Colchester is a big game for us Video

Solskjaer: Colchester is a big game for us

Ole discusses the Carabao Cup's importance, injuries and scouting the opposition in his pre-match press conference...

“Any player or any team - and, for us, it’s a new team now that we are building - would benefit from winning a trophy or getting to a final,” explained Ole. “Of course, winning it is major. Now we’ve got a chance to get into the semi-finals and, for us, this game is a big one.

“It’s massive for a player to win his first trophy, no matter which one it is. I remember when Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic won their first trophy - I think it was against Wigan in the final. 

“Of course, they got that feeling and, when you get that feeling of winning, it’s something you want more and more of. In this group, we have a few players who have won the championship, but there are less and less of them. So, for us, it would be fantastic.

“There should be a sense of excitement. The prize now is to get to the semi-final and then you’re not too far away.  So, the motivation and the attitude will be right on Wednesday.”
United began this season's Carabao Cup campaign by registering a penalty shoot-out win over Rochdale at Old Trafford, before earning a 2-1 victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Solskjaer named strong teams in both those ties and he is giving the competition the respect it deserves. 

“I think we showed that by the team we put out against Chelsea, that we take it seriously,” he said. “Even though we were in a difficult spell in the league, it was still important for us to create that momentum and the belief in the players. So we’re hoping to get to the final.”

Scouting the opposition is part of Solskjaer’s preparation and the boss has been studying Colchester, ahead of the tie at Old Trafford. 

The Essex club have knocked Swindon Town, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and Crawley Town out of the competition this season, which shows how dangerous a foe they are. 

“I watched the Tottenham game and I started watching the Palace one yesterday [on Saturday],” the boss added.

“They are a well organised, disciplined team that are going to make it hard for us. They are well organised. But we’re favourites and we should be able to create chances and, hopefully, go through.”

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