Manchester United will not sit back when Paris St Germain visit Old Trafford for the first leg of their last 16 Champions League meeting on Tuesday, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.
United are unbeaten in all competitions since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December and their improvement is down to the Norwegian’s insistence on an attacking style of play, as opposed to the defensive fare served up by his predecessor Jose Mourinho.
“We’ve got to rediscover the Manchester United way of playing, and I don’t think many teams enjoy their nights at Old Trafford when we’re on song,” Solskjaer, who has ten wins and a draw so far, said.
“It’s about taking the game to the opposition, always believing in yourself. If you asked other managers who played against Sir Alex (Ferguson)’s teams, the pace and the tempo going forward was key.
“I have three good forwards myself. As well as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku, we have Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard. They can challenge PSG’s defence.”
Solskjaer’s managerial record in domestic competitions with United speaks for itself, but Tuesday’s match will be his first test against elite European competition.
Progress for United in the Champions League would reinforce the case for Solskjaer to be named United’s permanent manager and the 45-year-old has fond memories of the tournament.
“The biggest nights of my career have been Champions League nights,” said Solskjaer, who scored the winner for United in the 1999 final which helped the club complete a treble, including the Premier League and FA Cup titles.
“When you get to this stage of the tournament, with the floodlights on, these are the games that you really look forward to.”
Speaking to journalists at his pre-game press conference on Monday afternoon. Solskjaer added: “We are confident. We have found what team we have, we are looking like a team, and we are agreeing on how we should approach games.
“If ever there was a time for us to play big games – it’s now. Both the supporters and the players have been looking forward to a night like this because they have always been special.
“Of course we’re playing against some top teams in the next few games but we are just focused on the next one. We don’t look too far ahead because then you lose your focus. I want my players to embrace the occasion.”
As for PSG, Edinson Cavani has been ruled out of Tuesday’s clash, French sports daily L’Equipe reported.
PSG said that Uruguay striker Cavani had sustained a hip muscle injury in Saturday’s 1-0 Ligue 1 victory over Bordeaux adding to the side’s injury woes.
PSG are already without the world’s most expensive player Neymar, who was ruled out with a foot injury, leaving the French side with only Kylian Mbappe as a world-class striking option. However, the club did not say that Cavani would definitely miss Tuesday’s match.
“The treatment and the length of his absence will depend on the evolution of the injury,” PSG said in a statement, adding that full-back Thomas Meunier would need to rest until next week after suffering a concussion.
Cavani picked up the injury at the end of the first half and he limped off the pitch shortly after scoring the only goal with a penalty.