Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to the scene of his greatest Manchester United achievement on Tuesday… but PSG have left him behind since that dramatic 3-1 win
- Manchester United travel to face PSG in the Champions League on Tuesday
- They return to the scene of their thrilling 3-1 knock-out victory in 2019
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked where he wanted statue that night after the win
- It remains his best night at United though, and PSG have left him behind since
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to the scene of his greatest triumph no closer to having a statue built in his honour as promised by Gary Neville.
Neville’s excited response to Manchester United’s dramatic Champions League triumph against PSG last year was to ask Solskjaer live on television: ‘How long would you like on your contract, what would you like your salary to be and where would you like the statue?’
It followed a remarkable 3-1 win in Paris that not only overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit to put United into the quarter-finals, it also secured Solskjaer’s promotion from interim to permanent manager.
Manchester United return will to scene of their thrilling 3-1 Champions League win over PSG
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was new in the job but still represents his greatest night as manager
The fact United scored their decisive goal in added-time through a debatable Marcus Rashford penalty only added to the feeling that everything would turn out alright with Ole at the wheel. And yet it will be a huge disappointment to United fans that they return to the French capital for the opening fixture of this season’s Champions League group having developed less than PSG in the intervening 19 months.
United have made only four major signings in the three transfer windows since — Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek — although free agent Edinson Cavani could make his United debut against his former club on Tuesday.
It was a result that promoted Gary Neville to ask Solskjaer where he would like his statue built
Meanwhile, PSG reached last season’s Champions League final having churned several of the players who collapsed against United.
Since that fateful night, when Presnel Kimpembe was harshly penalised for handball, they have added Mauro Icardi, Sergio Rico, Idrissa Gueye, former United midfielder Ander Herrera, Alessandro Florenzi, Danilo Pereira, Rafinha and Moise Kean to established stars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Marco Verratti.
Solskjaer would have loved a similar strengthening process but attempts to sign Jadon Sancho over the summer proved fruitless. Cavani, 33, will bring experience but he has not played a ball since March. Herrera, who played 189 times for United and was a fans favourite before leaving for PSG in the summer of 2019, has had some interesting things to say about the two clubs he knows so well.
‘Since I’ve been here at PSG what I’ve seen is that I’m at a club that thinks only and exclusively about football. And I say it sincerely because sometimes, from the outside, PSG can have a glamorous side that can irritate some,’ he said.
PSG have strengthened their personnel in many ways since then while United have stalled
‘In Manchester, there were times when I felt that football was not considered the most important thing. I don’t want to compare, all I know is that here I feel like I’m breathing football from all sides and I like it.’
Solskjaer has worked hard to change the culture at United since Herrera left so that dedication to the game and the club’s traditions are paramount.
But they are on their longest trophyless streak since Fergie’s early years and Solskjaer needs silverware this season.