Manchester United take on Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the first-leg set to be played out at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are the clear underdogs, despite the unprecedented nature of their win over PSG in the Round of 16.
The La Liga giants will be a formidable opponents to take on for the Norwegian, but all signs prove that the tie will not be permitted to remain a one-sided affair.
Despite the bad run of games that the Red Devils have been enduring since that PSG game, hopes are still high at the Mancunian camp, and Solskjaer may just have a secret to aid him during Wednesday’s encounter.
The former striker was still a player at United back when Barcelona defender Gerard Pique functioned for the Red Devils. Speaking about their shared time, Solskjaer remarked the following in his pre-match press conference:
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“Gerard, I used to play with him, actually I played here in a reserve final at Old Trafford. I scored, and Gerard scored, we won 2-0 against Tottenham, Kieran McKenna – our coach – played in that game. I don’t know if that tells you how young I am or how old Gerard is!”
He goes on to heap praises on the defender, while also revealing a fear that he held: “He was maybe unlucky because he was here when arguably one of the best centre-back partnerships in the world with Rio (Ferdinand) and Nemanja Vidic played here so he didn’t get the chances that he probably deserved.
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“So cultured, he can read the game, great in the air, very good boy to have in the dressing room, always smiling, joking, great lad. I know he’s not fond of needles, so maybe we should put a needle out for him!”
Solskjaer’s relative youth is further highlighted by such recollections, and it will be a splendid couple of games for the gaffer to relish, and try and muster a qualification out of.