Ole: You don’t get a second chance
The one-legged nature of the Europa League semi-finals means we have to leave everything on the pitch, says the boss…
Ole, first of all it was a major physical effort on Monday night, how are the lads? We had a good lie-in this morning and a good session this evening, for the ones that didn’t play. They’ll be fine. We’ll have a couple of days of recovery then start preparing for the next game. Fitness and resilience is something that’s been important to you over the last year. Is that something we’re seeing in action now at this very late stage of the season? Well, I think so. Physically we’re fine, all the teams have played many games anyway. Now it’s about who is the mentally strongest. You can look at the opponent and know they’re tired but you want them feeling more tired than you. You’ve got to be strong mentally, concentrated and focused, and any of these games can be, and will be, decided on a marginal decision or finishing. We’ve just got to keep them [the players] focused with the right attitude. How do you find these one-legged ties? There’s a real sense of jeopardy about them as there is no way back… It’s like a European Championships or a World Cup, you don’t get a second chance and you just know you have to leave everything on that pitch which for me is fine. It’s a different set-up to what we’re used to, we’re used to home and away, but for me this is the best scenario so that we can finish this tournament. Is it quite challenging for players in the sense that we might be here for 12 days or so and there is a very limited amount they can do because of the situation? Yeah but it’s a good group, they like each other’s company and they have fun between the sessions. We just have to make the most out of a difficult situation, with the weather as well, we’re training in the afternoon instead of at 12 because it’s a little bit too warm. It’s a third semi-final of the season for us. I know you want to go on and win it, but does that at least show development that in three cup competitions we’ve gone pretty much as far as we can go? Let’s see if we’ve developed throughout the season. We’ve had two semi-finals before but we want to go to the next step. Reaching semi-finals is a good effort, decent, but it’s not good enough for Man United. The team has been developing and getting more and more hungry, and let’s make sure that hurt that we felt in the two other cups we went out of can maybe be the marginal difference, in that we want it more than them. Do you feel the players can draw on that disappointment of going out of the other semi-finals? I would think so. When I lose a game or lose at something you don’t want that feeling again so I would think they’re ready for Sunday. We’ve seen some United fans out and about in Cologne – does seeing them make you even more determined? It’s brilliant. When we drove to the game on Monday night there were Man United fans with flags which is great for us. We know they’re here with us in spirit and they’re a big, big part of this. We’ll face Sevilla on Sunday. They’re the masters of the Europa League having won it five times… I was the manager of Molde when we lost against them in 2016 I think it was, they beat us 3-0 away and we beat them 1-0 in Molde, so I’ve got something I need to sort out with them.