Thomas Tuchel shakes hands with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Tuchel: Ole embodies the United spirit

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer epitomises the spirit of Manchester United, according to his opposite number, Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel.

The German was cheekily asked at the end of his press conference, previewing Wednesday’s Champions League round-of-16 second leg, if he should fear the former Reds striker after what he did to his fellow countrymen at Bayern Munich on that memorable night in 1999.

Responding in English, Tuchel supplied the perfect answer and emphasised his respect for the Norwegian, who has had such a huge impact at Old Trafford since taking over as caretaker manager in December, but suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of PSG in Manchester.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates at Old Trafford.
Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring PSG's second goal at Old Trafford.

“It’s better always to be aware of the qualities of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,” enthused Tuchel. “He has showed a lot of times, not only to Bayern Munich, but a lot of times, that he was a super sub and one of the key players of the biggest era in this club.

”He was totally, even as a striker, devoted to the team and always ready to help – for half an hour, 10 minutes or five minutes. This spirit made him big and, for me, is like the spirit that I would describe Manchester United.

“So it’s better for us to accept this reality, that these guys are ready for everything and will believe because they are a strong club with a strong history and a very strong record with Ole – before and after us. More or less, only winning and winning.

”It’s totally normal we accept his quality and respect his quality and prepare everything, prepare for the best Manchester United and it’s a big challenge for us. Hopefully, we can bring this [home], what we earned ourselves in the first match. Now the challenge is to bring it to the end but it’s a big challenge.

Tuchel believes he knows how United usually play but he was keeping his cards close to his chest with regard to his own team selection. Uruguay international striker Edinson Cavani, who missed the first leg in Manchester, is back in training and either Gianluigi Buffon or Areola will keep goal.

”I know who is going to play tomorrow,” Tuchel added. “I cannot tell today as we still have one practice. The goalkeepers already know who is going to play but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

”Cavani was with us and trained the last couple of practices. He was there during both sessions but we will actually decide together. We will find out whether he is going to play tomorrow or not. We’ll decide tomorrow. He’s been practising with us but we have got to wait.

Ole: Other Champions League results can inspire usVideo

”Normally, Manchester United like to play on the sides with a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with two strikers who play wide. For this, we need to find a solution. This is our goal. To control the rhythm, it’s not always easy. That’s the challenge.

“We clearly would like to control the game and the pace and the counter-attacks very early in the game. Maybe both strikers [Romelu] Lukaku and [Marcus] Rashford are very fast and strong players so, for this reason, we need to be very wary with a good structure and good formation. I can’t tell you the composition of the team right now, though.”

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