Manchester United’s Champions League journey this season has been a host of ups and downs. Their assigned group was greeted with a mixture of apprehension and hope, with the Juventus games best highlighting their woes and strengths.
Nevertheless, upon being drawn to PSG in the Round of 16, more than one supporter considered it the end of the road, given how Jose Mourinho’s side was performing elsewhere.
However, with the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a magical comeback ensued, and hopes reigned supreme yet again.
Following that, being drawn to Barcelona in the quarter-finals may have dampened the spirits of those supporters that had just begun dreaming. However, the players themselves didn’t have that sort of a reaction.
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Speaking in an interview, Chris Smalling reveals: “Normally we do 10 minutes on the bike and then we do some gym activation, but I think we stayed on the bikes for maybe 20 minutes because we saw the draw was on the TV.
We were all excited. As soon as it came out, we were all happy. We cheered and then we got on with training. But at least we knew who was in front of us.”
Smalling went on to add the squad’s and his hopes ahead of the massive encounter, speaking in words that every United supporter will be keen on hearing: “You think, ‘I want to play against teams like this.’
“We need to make sure that whatever game-plan we have – just like PSG – that we stick to it and everything falls into line. We know that we can give any team a right go.”
This is certainly the mentality they will require to overcome the unexpected slump of poor performances they have found themselves in. While it will be easy for Barca to write this tie off as an easy win, they may find themselves making a French error.