Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Solskjaer: We're ready for the semi-final

Saturday 15 August 2020 16:27

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his side are both physically and mentally ready to take on Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League semi-final.

By the time the tie kicks off in Cologne, at 20:00 BST on Sunday, the Reds will have had a full six days off to prepare for the test posed by the Spaniards, who have won this competition on five previous occasions.

With games coming thick and fast after the restart, it’s rare for the Norwegian to get such an extended period to work with his players and he feels that time has been well spent as United seek a first trophy since winning the competition in 2017.

“Well, we’ve had a few good days preparing, recovering and training. It’s not very often that we have six days between games,” said Solskjaer, at Saturday afternoon's press conference.

“We’re ready; we’re physically ready. Mentally, the boys will be ready because it’s a semi-final and everyone will want to take part and I just want them to enjoy it.

“For me as well, I’m looking forward to it. We’ve already been to a semi twice this season [in the Carabao and FA Cups] and we’re happy going as far as we have, but we’re not satisfied. We want to go one step further.”

After rotating his starting line-up for LASK’s visit to Old Trafford in the round of 16, Ole opted for an XI resembling those selected in the latter weeks of the Premier League when he picked his team against FC Copenhagen.

Eric Bailly and Fred started ahead of Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic, while Sergio Romero kept his place in goal, with David De Gea named as a substitute.

The same selection decisions now face Ole ahead of our semi-final, while Juan Mata made a case for a starting berth during the extra-time victory over the Danes with a stellar cameo off the bench.

Scott McTominay, who entered the fray during the additional half an hour at Stadion Koln as the Reds looked to shut up shop, is also an option in midfield.

Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe remain on the sidelines for the Reds, with all three defenders staying at home while the rest of the squad is out in Germany.

“We’re fine. Obviously the ones we’ve left home are still there,” Ole confirmed in a separate interview with MUTV, when asked if there were any injury concerns.


Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui is due to appear before the media later this afternoon to give an update on his squad, which appeared to come through Tuesday’s 1-0 quarter-final win over Wolverhampton Wanderers unscathed.

Serbian midfielder Nemanja Gudelj, who has missed the Andalusians’ last two games in continental competition after testing positive for COVID-19 in July, rejoined training in Dusseldorf on Friday and is now available for selection.

"I feel very good. I was well all the time at home,” Gudelj told Sevilla club media. “It was difficult being at home for two weeks, knowing that you're well and can help the team, but with the virus you can't go out. It was difficult but I was good, training at home. I knew that I could test negative at any moment and I had to be ready to help the team."

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