Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks at a pre-match press conference

Solskjaer: Old Trafford needs a big European night

Monday 11 February 2019 15:24

There will be a classic European atmosphere when Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain run out at Old Trafford on Tuesday, which is long overdue in the eyes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ties like these are exactly what make the UEFA Champions League so special and our caretaker manager is excited for the action against the ever-dominant champions of France to begin.

With United currently on an 11-match unbeaten run across all competitions and supporters justifiably feeling more confident than ever, the atmosphere is expected to be red-hot. 

Our last big European night against a historic opponent at Old Trafford – in the knockout stages, specifically – was arguably when Real Madrid visited back in 2013. That was a year before Bayern Munich had been, and Solskjaer recalled those occasions during his pre-match press conference.

“I look back to one of the last few exciting knockout games when we lost to Real Madrid when Nani was sent off,” Ole told reporters at the stadium. “Of course we had Bayern Munich a few years ago as well, so we're looking forward to this. It is both the supporters and the players who have been looking forward to some of these nights, because they are so special.”
Watch as Ole recalls our famous 7-1 win over Roma at Old Trafford in the Champions League.
Solskjaer went on to reference our famous home win over AS Roma in April 2007 and explained why he would like his players to replicate the belief which fuelled that astounding victory. 

“Maybe my last one [as a player] was when we beat Roma 7-1. I played in that one, I came on. It was a typical Old Trafford night when we lost 2-1 away from home and the manager was so happy. He said, 'we'll be all right, we'll win at home.' He was so confident in our abilities, so I just want my players to go into this game confident and embrace the game.”
The draw for the Champions League last-16 was made on Monday 18 December and Solskjaer was appointed as our caretaker manager two days later. Interestingly, as he explained during the press conference, he watched the balls being drawn out of the hat with his son back in Norway. 

“I was watching with Noah and we said 'wow, that's a tough challenge', but I think we've given ourselves a good chance,” he said at the top table. “We're giving us the best possible opportunity on the way we've gone into this game now, because we're confident. We've found out what kind of team we have, we're looking like a team. We're agreeing on how we should approach games. So, if there was ever a chance or any time to go into big games like this, it's now for us.”

PSG have of course become the dominant force in French football since they were taken over by international investors several years ago, transforming the club almost overnight. Solskjaer has been impressed by their progress, particularly after facing them much earlier in his football career.  

“It's been fantastic to see their progress,” said Ole on Monday afternoon. “I played against them for Molde in '95 in the Cup Winners' Cup, so the difference of their challenge now is fantastic.

“They've got some of the world’s best players. They've got one of the biggest goalkeeping legends in Buffon, they've got Thiago Silva who has been one of the best centre-backs in the world in the last few years. They’ve got one of the most exciting young players with Mbappe, they’ve got Neymar who is the most expensive player in the world, so that tells you everything about their evolution and how they've progressed. We know we're playing against a team with confidence.”

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