Manchester United can score away at Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, says Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Barca hold a 1-0 lead after Wednesday’s first leg at Old Trafford with the teams meeting in Spain on 16 April.
“We’re playing against a great team. It’s a tough one – we’ll go there with the knowledge we can score over there,” Solskjaer said. “We go there with one thing in my mind: we have to score.” In the last 16, United looked to be facing elimination after they lost 2-0 at home against Paris St-Germain in the first leg but a 3-1 victory in the French capital took them through on away goals.
“The PSG performance gives us hope and belief we can do it, but we are playing against the favourites,” said Solskjaer, adding that recovering to reach the last four would be a “greater achievement” than the win in Paris.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde also refused to write off the English side. “Look how they did in Paris, you need only to look at how they did there – the result is yet to be decided,” said the Spaniard. “They are a powerful side and when they pressed us they caused us difficulties. Football is a funny game, it’s full of everything. It’s hard to move the ball when they are being aggressive in their pressing. We thought it was going to be very difficult and 1-0 is not going to decide anything.”
Barcelona went ahead at Old Trafford through Luke Shaw’s 12th-minute own goal. United restricted the Spanish league leaders to just the one goal, but they did not have a shot on target themselves. With Nemanja Matic injured, 22-year-old Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay played and Solskjaer was delighted with his performance. “He’s developing every time he plays,” said Solskjaer. “He comes into training every day with a fantastic attitude. That is the way to improve. Every game he plays, he grows and grows. He was the first one to take the ball down and settle us. We had to slow the game down. We were too quick to give the ball away. The three midfielders did really well.”
However, the United manager was less impressed with referee Gianluca Rocchi, who took no action on a potential handball against Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, after the midfielder had already been booked. Tottenham’s Danny Rose was cautioned for handball during his side’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City on Tuesday, but Busquets did not get a second yellow card. Asked whether Busquets was lucky to remain on the pitch, Solskjaer said: “Yes. Why does Danny Rose get a yellow card? It is that consistency. But there is nothing we can do about it. We are where we are. [Busquets] will play against us over there.”
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