In a bid to maintain the push for another Europa League trophy, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said his big players need to step up in tonight’s semi-final against Sevilla.
This could be referred to as a direct call to especially Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernades, and Anthony Martial to continue their rich form.
The last time United won the trophy was in the 2016-17 season, which qualified them directly for the group stage of the Champions League after finishing out of the top four in the Premier League. This led to having five English teams in the European clubs’ competition.
Having led the Red Devils to a third-place finish in the domestic league, Solskjaer will be looking forward to winning his first trophy as a manger for United after losing in the semi-finals of both the EFL Cup and FA Cup this season.
“You know that when you come to a semi-final, you’re playing against big teams. It’s time to step up for big players, big game moments.
“You have to have 100% focus because any little moment can change the game. We’ve learned that it’s very painful to lose a semi-final,” the former United striker whose last major trophy with the team was a Premier League win in 2006-07 season.
We are ready for Sevilla – Solskjaer
Meanwhile, Solskjaer, whose last success as a manager when he won the 2013 Norwegian Cup with Molde said his lads are prepared for the Sevilla clash.
After overcoming Copenhagen 1-0 in extra time, United have had an extra day to prepare. The team has been in Cologne and looked settled.
Sevilla scaled through the hurdle in the last eight courtesy of an 88th-minute goal to beat Wolves in Duisburg on Tuesday.
This has given Solskjaer the confidence to say that United has a good chance of progressing against the five-time winners.
“We’ve had a few good days now, both recovering and preparing. It’s not very often we have six days between games, so we’re ready.
“We’ve been already twice now in the semis this season. Of course we’re happy with going as far as we have but we’re not satisfied.
“We want to go one step further,” he added.
Whoever emerges winners will face either Shakhtar Donetsk or Inter Milan in the final on Friday, 21 August in Cologne.
Solskjaer added that the only way to stop Sevilla, who are unbeaten in 19 games is to score more goals than them.
“Score more goals than them. It’s not easy. They are a very organised team, aggressive in their pressing, with some very good individuals.
“We need to play our best game and keep the ball when we can. Play out of their press, be clever and creative, and step up in big moments. The last pass, the finish. These games will be decided so often on a set-piece or individual brilliance.”
United have found their football – Julen Lopetegui
Also speaking ahead of tonight’s clash, Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said his opponent is the best of the last few years.
“They’ve found their football, they have not lost since January in the Premier League, which is such a competitive league, and they are in the right place.
“They’re a complete team in many respects and we are going to have to play a great game if we are going to be able to compete with them.”