Champions League | Football

Solskjaer confident of a fightback

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his “confident” side could stage a Champions League fightback at Paris Saint-Germain this week after a dramatic 3-2 victory over Southampton on Saturday.

Solskjaer’s side will be aiming to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the Champions League last 16, second leg at PSG on Wednesday.

“The dressing room was bouncing, they were happy, looking forward to Wednesday,” said the Norwegian.

“We’re playing against one of the best teams in Europe with some absolute quality players but who knows? This has happened before, so many great comebacks.

“The Champions League has given quite a few of those comebacks, PSG against Barcelona for example. We have to do it away from home, but we have eight straight wins away from home.

“We’re confident away from home and if we’re in the game with 20 or 30 minutes to go, who knows?”

Ashley Young has also warned that United should not be written off.

“We know what we’re capable of,” he said. “People can write us off. People were writing us off at the start of the season and people are writing us off now. It’s no different.”

Casualty list

Paul Pogba’s red card in the first game means he is unavailable for the return while fellow midfielders Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard appear on a casualty list that also includes Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez.

Meanwhile, AS Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco could lead his team into the quarterfinals or be shown the exit door depending on the outcome of its round of 16 match at Porto on Wednesday.

After a season of remarkable inconsistency, Italian media have reported that Di Francesco’s job will be at stake when it defends a 2-1 lead away to the Portuguese champion at the Estadio do Dragao in Wednesday’s second leg.

Former Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa is the favourite to replace Di Francesco should he be fired, according to Italian media, which said the Portuguese will be in the stands on Wednesday.

The 49-year-old led Roma to third place in Serie A and the Champions League semifinals last season — his first at the club — and was rewarded with a new two-year contract.

Although there have been some impressive performances this season, especially from 19-year-old midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, they have been overshadowed by Roma’s tendency to collapse.

Di Francesco has been left fishing for explanations and there have been some unusual ones, such as the suggestion he made earlier in the season that striker Edin Dzeko is less effective in daylight. “It seems he prefers playing at night,” said Di Francesco.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 1:42:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/solskjaer-confident-of-a-fightback/article26439873.ece

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