According to the latest reports, Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that he will not use the 1999 Champions League final to compare and motivate his side when the Red Devils travel to Barcelona for the 2nd leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie. The 46-year-old has a very special place in his heart because he scored two dramatic late goals in the Champions League final back in 1999 at the Camp Nou to help United lift the European Cup.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done wonders for Manchester United as a player and most recently as a manager. The Norwegian took over the reins from Jose Mourinho who left Manchester United in tatters, but Solskjaer has brought some of the smiles back on the faces of the United faithful. Not many gave United the chance to progress through to the quarterfinals of the Champions League when they drew Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16. The English side however completed a dramatic comeback against the French side and has also got in contention for a top-four spot on the Premier League table.
These impressive displays in a short spell made Manchester United believe that Solskjaer was the right man for the job and gave him the title on a permanent basis. However, results have not really gone Manchester United’s way ever since as they lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League and even Barcelona visited Old Trafford and left with a one-goal advantage for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final. Luke Shaw’s own goal meant that United have to complete another comeback at Camp Nou in the Champions League. Solskjaer was the man on the pitch 20 years ago in the final but he will only be able to bark instructions from the sidelines on Tuesday night.
When asked by reporters whether he will use the 1999 Champions League final as a motivator, Solskjaer replied, “No I will not because it was against Bayern Munich, it was a final, and it was different. We will use the PSG (match), we will use Juventus away, we have beaten some good teams away from home this year, and played against some great players. We had (Barcelona) flustered at times here as well. Yes, they controlled the game towards the end, they had the possession but they never really bothered us in our own half.”
Solskjaer went on to add praise on his teams attacking qualities and attributes stating that they can pose a threat to the La Liga table toppers, “You look at the quality of those players and that gives us a threat, we carry a goal threat. But of course what we did against PSG as a team must give everyone a huge confidence boost because that experience was probably the best they have had for many years, those players.”
Manchester United have the ability to keep Barcelona quiet and they did so at Old Trafford but at the Camp Nou, in a hostile atmosphere, things will be very different. However, the fact is that Barca is not easy to break down, like they were able to do against the likes of Juventus early in the season and recently against PSG.
They will really have to pull up their socks and put in a solid performance, if they wish to beat one of the favourites for the Champions League title this term. It will not be easy, but it can be surely done as United have already shown the world in the big fixtures that they have been playing recently.
Only time will tell whether the Norwegian manager and his team can now deliver the results that they need on the night to win the tie, against the champions of Spain. Messi and co. on the other hand will want to make it tough for them and the one away goal that they have will also be crucial to the cause.
The Argentine international was rather quiet in the first leg and was hurt by a challenge made by Chris Smalling. This time he will hoping to take his revenge and settle the tie with some magic. Hopefully, he can do that and make his presence felt in the game now. Let’s wait and watch!!