‘We never make it easy for ourselves!’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer puts Manchester United’s hot and cold form down to their ‘TRADITION’ – and says they’re ready to leave it late against Leipzig like old times
- Manchester United’s Champions League progression comes down to one game
- Old Trafford club need at least draw to guarantee reaching the knockout stages
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer quipped that it is almost tradition to do things the hard way
- He believes the comeback wins in recent weeks are growing belief in squad
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can see the hallmark of Manchester United’s great teams in his players as he leads them into Tuesday’s make-or-break Champions League clash in Leipzig.
United need a point to be sure of qualification from Group H but could finish third – and drop into the Europa League – if they follow up last week’s loss to Paris Saint-Germain with another defeat in Germany.
A veteran of Sir Alex Ferguson’s glorious European campaigns and a Champions League hero in 1999, Solskjaer admits United have always had a habit of making life hard for themselves.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joked that making life difficult is in Manchester United’s DNA
The manager senses growing belief in the United squad after recent comeback wins
But after seeing his team come from behind to win all five Premier League games away from home this season, the United boss detects the same strength of character that made Ferguson’s side so hard to beat.
‘I can definitely see those traits coming back, and the belief coming back,’ said Solskjaer.
‘I don’t know how many times we’ve come back and how many goals we’ve scored in the last 10 or 15 minutes but it’s a lot. That’s a big difference from last season.
‘We spoke about that at the start of the season, we need those extra points that can give us. It’s been very important so far.
‘Games like this that mean you can go through if you win are big. The players here are Man United players because they have qualities we look for. I’m sure tomorrow night will prove the reason why they are here. They will show it.
Mason Greenwood and Co know that a point away at RB Leipzig will be enough for them
‘The character of the group is getting better and better. It’s something that we want, games like this.
‘It’s tradition for Man United, we never make it easy for ourselves. We look at the games, especially the Istanbul away when we could have got three points, that’s just the way we do things.
‘We make it hard for ourselves, that’s been ever since I played. Through history it’s down to the last game.
‘When we saw this group, we didn’t expect to be through before the last game. Of course, we could have done it ourselves before but we’re pleased to get here now and have this chance.
‘With the fitness we’re getting, the spirit we’re getting, the pace we have, it’s great for us knowing we don’t give up. The character is getting into the team.
Defeat away against Istanbul Basaksehir was followed by another loss against PSG
‘Man United has a tradition and history and opponents would know about that as well. We’re just working hard. To get into people’s heads, that might happen so they can’t switch off.’
Although United only need a draw to go through, Solskjaer insists that his players will go for the win after beating Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford.
‘You’ve got to approach it as a 90-minute game,’ he added. ‘Anything can happen in any moment.
‘You can’t sit back and hope for a 0-0 draw. That’s not in our genes, it’s not in the team’s genes, it’s not in the club’s genes. We want to go out there and win a game.
Edinson Cavani (left) and Anthony Martial (right) are out of the game with minor niggles
‘We showed that against PSG that we wanted to go out and create chances, and we’ll do that again.
‘You can’t ignore it (the 5-0 win). It’s a game we will remember fondly because we did many things right. We need to do lots of things right again, and we should also correct a few wrongs.
‘We know Leipzig well enough to know they’re unpredictable in their shape and system but, we know the players and the style they play in so we know it’s going to be a tough game and we need to be at our best to get a good result.’