We cant rely on fate at Camp Nou – Solskjaer

We cant rely on fate at Camp Nou – Solskjaer
April 16 09:13 2019

Manchester United “cannot rely on fate” in their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona, says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United travel to the Nou Camp needing to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit.

It will be the first time Solskjaer has played or managed at the ground since scoring the win ning goal for United in the 1999 Champions League final.

“[There will be] Many emotions, of course it’s a fantastic memory for me.” Solskjaer said.

“I don’t look back on that night too often.

“I don’t know how I will feel – I don’t think it will be too different. I am focused on a better performance. That is my job now.

“Sometimes people have said to me it has to be our year because of 20 years ago and being back at the Nou Camp but to go through, we have to perform and have to deserve it. We can’t say we are just going to rely on fate.”

Solskjaer’s goal against Bayern Munich came in the third minute of injury time, two minutes after Teddy Sheringham had equalised, and sealed a historic treble for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

Asked if the prospect facing his current side on Tuesday was more difficult, Solskjaer said: “In football, anything can happen.

“We know we can still be in this tie if we keep a clean sheet. In the 93rd minute, if we get a set-piece, we are taller and bigger than them.

“We need to defend well and we need to score. I don’t mind if it is in the 93rd minute.”

‘PSG win will help us’

United are aiming to overturn a first-leg deficit for the second round in a row on Tuesday.

In the last 16, they recovered a 2-0 deficit against Paris St-Germain by winning 3-1 at the Parc des Princes to go through on away goals.

Solskjaer said the win in Paris “will help” his team against Barcelona.

“It will have helped us as a team,” the Norwegian said. “We know we can turn things around.

“Barca here at the Nou Camp is a difficult prospect but that night will live with the players. It was not that long ago and we are one goal better off [than we were then].”

TEAM NEWS

Solskjaer confirmed forward Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Nemanja Matic are both available for the tie after recovering from injuries.

Sanchez, who played 141 times for Barca in a three-year spell, has been out for six weeks with a knee injury and Matic has missed the past three games.

Matteo Darmian has also been included in the 22-man squad after injury but Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly are out.

“Alexis has been here and played here,” Solskjaer said. “It will be a big night for him when he is on the pitch. I am sure he wants to prove a point and prove point for us as well.

“He has been injured and has not had a fantastic season so far. Let’s hope he ends the season great for us.”

Lionel Messi is fit to play, having suffered a facial injury in last Wednesday’s first leg following a clash with Chris Smalling. The forward was rested for Saturday’s La Liga goalless draw at bottom club Huesca.

A draw would take Barcelona through to their first Champions League semi-final since 2015 but manager Ernesto Valverde said he would send his team out to win the game.

“The result from the first leg is not definite,” Valverde said.

“We have to play our own way. We will try to make sure they don’t score. We want to win the game tomorrow.”

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Barcelona have never lost a home match against Manchester United in European competition (W2 D2), with their last such meeting finishing 0-0 in April 2008.
  • Of the 70 previous occasions a side has won a Champions League knockout tie first leg away from home, just four have been eliminated (6%). However, two of those instances have been in this season’s competition, including once by Manchester United.
  • In their first-leg defeat, Manchester United failed to register a single shot on target for the first time in a Champions League game since March 2005 (0-1 against AC Milan).

Barcelona

  • Barcelona have progressed from 39 of their 41 European ties in which they won the first leg away from home – the exceptions were against FC Koln in the 1980-81 UEFA Cup, and against Metz in the 1984-85 Cup Winners’ Cup.
  • They are unbeaten in 30 Champions League home games, the longest such run of any club in the competition (W27 D3). They have also not conceded more than once in any of those 30 games (15 goals in total) since a 0-3 loss to Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 semi-finals.
  • Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 22 goals in 31 Champions League games against English opponents, more than any other player in the competition. A total of 13 of those strikes have come in his past nine appearances against English sides at the Nou Camp, including hat-tricks against Arsenal (April 2010) and Manchester City (October 2016).
  • Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has had more shots without finding the net than any other player in the Champions League this season (33).

Manchester United

  • Manchester United have progressed from one of their four previous European ties in which they lost the first leg at home, though it was in the last round against Paris St-Germain.
  • A total of 90% of Manchester United’s Champions League goals this season have come away from home (nine out of 10). However, they have won just one of their past five away knockout stage games in the competition (D2 L2).
  • United have lost 49 Champions League games – they could become the ninth different club to reach 50 defeats in the competition, and just the second English side (Arsenal, 53).

‘United have just 9% chance of progression’

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote:

Given the draw, Manchester United were the outsiders of the four English clubs to reach the semi-finals prior to the first legs.

A 1-0 home defeat against Barcelona, the Euro Club Index number one team, has made United’s chance even more remote and they are now given just a 9% chance of claiming a place in the last four of the Champions League.

Similarly United’s chance of winning the Champions League this season has reduced to around 1%.

[BBC]