PSG vs Manchester United - Tuchel wary of Solskjaer’s qualities

Posted Wednesday, March 06, 2019 by PA

PSG vs Manchester United - Tuchel wary of Solskjaer’s qualities

Paris St Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel is wary of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s qualities and Manchester United’s never-say-die attitude ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash.

Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe’s goals at Old Trafford last month put the Ligue 1 champions in the driving seat ahead of the last-16 return fixture at the Parc des Princes.

PSG are the only side to have inflicted a defeat on Solskjaer since he became caretaker manager in December, with the 2-0 loss the only setback in his remarkable 16-match reign.

The Norwegian has brought a refreshing positivity to the job and talked up injury-hit United’s chances of progressing in his pre-match press conference, where he displayed the kind of determination and drive synonymous with the club under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Solskjaer played a key role under the Scot and sealed the treble with a last-gasp winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich – something put to PSG’s German coach on the eve of the game.

Tuchel said: “It is better always to be aware of the qualities of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

“He has showed a lot of times, not only to Bayern Munich, that he is a super sub and he was one of the key players of the biggest era in this club.

“It’s better for us to accept that these guys are ready for everything and they will believe because it’s a strong club with a strong history, with a very strong record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before us and after us.

“It’s a big, big challenge for us and hopefully we can bring what we earned ourselves in the first match. Now it’s the challenge to bring it to the end and it’s a big challenge for us.”

Solskjaer believes United can spark another memorable PSG collapse, despite 10 absentees compounding their difficult challenge.

United are on a club-record run of eight successive away wins but have to also make European Cup history if they are to progress, given all 106 teams that have previously secured a 2-0 first leg away win have made it through.

Solskjaer freely admits they have a mountain to climb but was quick to point to their European history and PSG’s soft underbelly on the eve of the second leg.

It is just two years since the perennial Ligue 1 champions were on the wrong end of Champions League history when Barcelona recovered from a 4-0 loss in Paris to win the second leg of their last-16 tie 6-1.

“Of course, everyone knows that we can do it, we have done it – and the results in Champions League in the last few years,” Solskjaer said.

“I don’t want to call it strange, but last year Juventus lost 3-0 at home against Real Madrid and suddenly they were 3-0 up after 90 minutes against Madrid away.

“The year before that, PSG against Barcelona. We all remember those results. So, there are so many examples of teams who can change results like this.

“Also, as a club, we’ve done it so many times. The players have been fantastic away from home, beaten Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, which has given us the belief we can do this as well.”

Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba are United’s latest absentees, with the latter suspended after his red card in the first leg while Sanchez faces up to six weeks out with a knee injury.

Anthony Martial remains sidelined with a groin injury, while Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are also unavailable. Solskjaer has brought a number of young talents to France, with 18-year-old defender Brandon Williams joining up with the senior squad for the first time.

PSG will still be without star striker Neymar but full-back Thomas Meunier has returned to the line-up since the first leg and Edinson Cavani could follow suit.

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