Solskjaer promises positive European approach
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United will set out to win each of our six group games in this season’s Europa League.
The boss sees lifting the trophy for a second time in four years as a realistic achievement for the Reds and has promised a positive style of football in the competition’s early stages.
“The Europa League is a great chance to win a trophy because the English teams have done well in this tournament before,” Ole said in an interview with UEFA.
“We’ll go into every game in the group stage with the mentality of winning it and let’s see where it takes us.”
Astana are the visitors when our European campaign gets underway at Old Trafford on Thursday night (kick-off 20:00 BST).
The Norwegian is expecting the Kazakhstan Premier League champions – and fellow Group L opponents AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade – to adopt a defensive approach when they come to Old Trafford but suggested his side can adapt for away games against teams who want to keep hold of the ball.
“There are different ways of winning games of football,” added the manager. “Sometimes, you meet teams you have to break down, with the low block. At Old Trafford you expect that to happen a lot.
“I’m also European, Norwegian, and away from home we’re known for our counter-attacking football, so I don’t mind defending at times deeper and breaking quickly.”
Ole highlighted that some of the Reds’ most storied continental victories have come when we’ve had to adopt a more proactive approach, which may come in handy, especially for the trip to the intimidating Partizan Stadium on 24 October.
“We have some players with unbelievable pace and counter-attacking abilities. Some of Manchester United’s best performances over the years have been that type.
“It’s a mix – we can both dominate the opposition and call it [domination] too when we’re defending because we’re knowing, when we win the ball, we’re in a great position to counter-attack quickly from.”
United’s early performances this season – especially during the 4-0 home win against Chelsea – have been characterised by relentless pressing up the pitch by our forward players.
Solskjaer believes that this style of play is the way forward for the Reds, both in terms of invigorating the crowd and forcing the opposition into making costly mistakes close to their own goal.
“I think modern football is more and more about high intensity and more and more teams are successful in the high press. You have to be really fit to do that.
“Our fans at Old Trafford love attackers closing down defenders and not giving them a moment.
“That’s what we want to get to – don’t give a team a chance to breathe when they’re at Old Trafford.”
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