MANCHESTER UNITED AND FC BARCELONA, Wednesday, first leg quarter final set up at Old Trafford, would be a huge mountain to climb on both sides – but more odds against United. United sent out Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 with a dramatic 3-1 away victory which overturned 2-0 first-leg home defeat by PSG, with away goal advantage.
Gunnar Solskjaer, as interim manager, now fully in charge, seems to have won the hearts of United followers with his short-term successes been in charge since December 2018. He now parades a team of creative play makers with attacking characters of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba. Will they live up to the bid facing inspiring Barcelona?
Recent three defeats in four matches raise concerns over United consistently staying on success course. United could be on the way out of Champions League next season if not on the top four, also out of FA Cup. Solskjaer seems not to be worried about the loses, even when it places United at big disadvantage.
Solskjaer to ESPN: “You’ve got to aim high. You cannot aim too low at this club. You’ve got to aim to win titles. When I came back here as the manager I thought a lot about what makes a winning team. What does it really take to win on the biggest stage? I’m not one to sit back, rest on my laurels.”
Solskjaer seem to have his eyes somewhere, given his comments on ESPN. Could it be the Champions League title which he has a quarter-final ticket? Is he focused on getting to the finals and eventually picking the coveted title for Manchester United this season?
He was optimistic after United was drawn with Barcelona in the quarter-finals last month, and was quoted to have said: “We want these games against the biggest clubs and the biggest teams. We had the final against them in 2009 and 2011 (both of which Barca won) and the semi-final in 2008 when Scholesy (Paul Scholes) scored.”
Solskjaer, scored the winning goal for United against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final in Barcelona. He is conversant with the Champions League and could have his eyes on it. The outcome of United Wednesday’s outing in Old Trafford against Barcelona would provide further insight on Solskjaer’s new job as United boss.