Solskjaer would never disrespect Roma
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rubbished any suggestion he disrespected Europa League rivals Roma after the semi-final tie was confirmed.
The boss was asked to respond to reports from the Italian capital concerning some Roma fans being so upset to read his comments about the Serie A side, they had erected banners outside the training ground to voice their displeasure.
Ole had merely said he hadn't seen them play when asked on TV in the immediate aftermath of the win over Granada in the previous round, only for the quotes to resurface this week on UEFA channels and in the Italian press ahead of the game.
"That was straight after the game and, with all the games we've had, I was just relieved that we had gone through," Ole explained during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday. "Of course, I've watched them but I hadn't analysed them and I hadn't seen them in depth to give them enough respect probably.
“It's a fantastic club with a great history. I've actually got two prized possessions back home - a [Francesco] Totti shirt and a [Daniele] De Rossi shirt - I swapped shirts with them, they're actually signed!
“We are ready for them," he added. "My comment was not meant as any disrespect and I think everyone knows that. I have got loads of respect for them.”
"I know about the history," the boss continued. "I know about the quality. With Chris [Smalling] being there last season, we followed them. Then they signed Chris and we've not watched them as much, but we've analysed them down to the ground since we drew them."
Smalling could feature on Thursday after completing a permanent switch to the Giallorossi and the capital club also include the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Edin Dzeko in their squad.
Certainly, there is no prospect of the Reds underestimating the stiff challenge Roma will pose to our trophy aspirations, particularly after they knocked a talented Ajax side out in the quarter-finals.