The Red Devils visit the Parc des Princes with a mountain to climb if they are to reach the Champions League quarter-finals
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping history repeats itself this evening as his Manchester United side have a mountain to climb as they attempt to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
United visit the Parc des Princes needing to score twice without conceding to take Paris Saint-Germain to extra time, or three goals with none against to secure progression to the next round of Europe’s premier club competition inside 90 minutes.
If PSG score just once United will also need to net three times to get through on the away goals rule, as they will have three away goals to PSG’s two.
United’s task would be tough enough if Solskjaer could call upon a fully-fit squad, but he has 10 players out for Wednesday’s match including Paul Pogba, the France midfielder, who is suspended after being sent off in last month’s first leg.
The Norwegian freely admits the Red Devils have an all but impossible task on their hands, but United’s caretaker manager was quick to point to their European history and PSG’s soft underbelly on the eve of the second leg.
It is just two years since the perennial Ligue 1 champions were on the wrong end of Champions League history when Barcelona recovered from a 4-0 loss in Paris to win the second leg of their round of 16 tie 6-1.
“Of course, everyone knows that we can do it, we have done it – and the results in Champions League in the last few years,” Solskjaer said at the Parc des Princes.
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“I don’t want to call it strange, but last year Juventus lost 3-0 at home against Real Madrid and suddenly they were 3-0 up after 90 minutes against Madrid away.
“The year before that, PSG against Barcelona. We all remember those results. So, there are so many examples of teams who can change results like this.
“Also, as a club, we’ve done it so many times. The players have been fantastic away from home, beaten Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, which has given us the belief we can do this as well.”
That belief, along with United’s current club-record run of eight successive away wins, is why Solskjaer says this second leg was ‘never mission impossible’.
If the players need further inspiration, they only need to look to the 1999 Treble hero or former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who travelled with the squad but will not be making a speech in Paris.