Wed. May 22nd, 2019

Uefa Champions League: Man United eye another miracle against Barca

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrives for a training session at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 15, 2019 on the eve of the Champions League second leg quarter-final football match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)Man United will be looking to repeat a similar feat to what they pulled off against PSG in the previous round, as they square off against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

uefa champions league man united eye another miracle against barca 1024x853 - Uefa Champions League: Man United eye another miracle against Barca

321a01ca 000 1fo0n1 1200x1000 - Uefa Champions League: Man United eye another miracle against Barca

Manchester United fans touched down in Barcelona on Tuesday dreaming of another miracle at Camp Nou.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completed the club’s most famous comeback there in 1999 and hopes to see a repeat on the same turf, this time against Barca in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Solskjaer’s 93rd-minute winner 20 years ago lives on in United folklore as they came from 1-0 down to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 and clinch Europe’s premier prize.

Now in the dugout, Solskjaer returns with his side trailing 1-0 again and needing an unlikely turnaround if they are to reach the tournament’s last four.

“Of course it’s a fantastic memory for me. It’s the only time I’ve been on the pitch here,” Solskjaer said at a press conference on Monday.

“I don’t mind if we score in the 93rd minute again (on Tuesday). If we get to injury-time, we are a fit team.”

Ernesto Valverde has said Lionel Messi is fit and ready to play in the second leg as Barca bid to make the semis for the first time in four years.

Messi was among ten players rested for the goalless draw against Huesca on Saturday after a hefty challenge from United defender Chris Smalling last week left him with a swollen nose and cheek.

“He is fine,” said Valverde.

“He has recovered perfectly from the blow he suffered. He was fine after a couple of days.

“It is true that during the match he was a little stunned, but he is in perfect condition and does not have any problems ahead of tomorrow’s game.”

Valverde said Ousmane Dembele could also feature after he played 67 minutes against Huesca, having recovered from a hamstring injury.

“I don’t know to what extent because he has been out for four weeks,” Valverde said. “But he is ready to play.”

Barcelona’s home record

Barcelona have lost only one home game in the Champions League in 10 years, but United will draw hope from their last 16 comeback against Paris Saint-Germain when they overturned a 2-0 first-leg defeat to go through.

“That memory from PSG will help the players and us as a team, that we know we can turn things around,” Solskjaer said.

“Barcelona here at the Nou Camp is a difficult prospect, but the memory will live with the players. It’s not long ago.”

Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is confident his team can avoid a repeat.

“The good thing is we play differently to PSG,” he said. “But United are dangerous, and the result from the first leg is dangerous, it is a very small advantage.”

Barcelona’s recent history in this competition has been painful. United look to follow Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Roma in sending Barca out in the quarter-finals for a fourth year in a row.

“It has been hard,” said Ter Stegen. “We are another year older, and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We have to take those losses into account and use them to move forward.”

Valverde urged his players to seize the opportunity.

“I think we all take examples of things happening in the past and use them to spur us on,” he said. “That’s fine, but I prefer to take charge of your own destiny. You won’t be given something that falls from the sky. We have to earn it.”

United’s greatest threat in recent weeks has tended to come on the counter-attack, but Solskjaer insists they cannot afford to sit back.

“There are freak results against Barcelona when you have 10 or 15% possession, and they don’t win, but normally they do win,” Solskjaer said. “We need to stamp our authority on the game.”

© Agence France-Presse

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *