Manchester United Secure Safe Passage To Europa League Semi-Finals
After winning the first leg 2-0 away from home, Manchester United have repeated the performance, winning 2-0 at Old Trafford to secure safe passage to a Europa League semi-final showdown with Italian side AS Roma.
A strike from Edinson Cavani in the sixth minute made it 3-0 on aggregate, and an own goal in the dying minutes extended the gap to 4-0.
Disciplined Performance From Manchester United
After coming home with two away goals to their name, the temptation could have been for United’s players to switch off mentally, which would have made them vulnerable to a shock exit.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with his teams mentality throughout the tie.
“When you go into these games 2-0 up, it’s a difficult one. We’ve got to have a disciplined, professional performance, which I thought we had. We got the first goal from Edinson [Cavani], a very good goal, and I think that’s decided the tie. From then on it’s about not giving stupid chances away, and we didn’t until the last few minutes, when David [De Gea] had a very good save.”
“You know Paul, he doesn’t just dip a toe into his tackles – he wants to win the ball, he’s a big lad, and sometimes it happens, he gets a yellow card. I thought Paul played really well, and we lost a lot with him coming off, of course, but I couldn’t take the risk [of him picking up a suspension]. We’ve missed three [suspended players] today and the season’s been hard enough as it is anyway.”
“The game of football, it can change like this [clicks fingers]. So you can never feel too comfortable or think ‘We’ve done it’ or ‘We’ve cracked it’ because it comes back to bite you. With the balls they put in the box, crosses, set plays, when you take Paul off, Edinson off, some big lads off, and it’s Amad, Juan [Mata] and DJ [Daniel James], any set play can be dangerous, so you have to take all these things into consideration. They had 11 corners in the last game and I’ve not counted how many they got today, but they still had a few corners and, as a manager, it’s nervy every time.”
“The boys have been fantastic, they’ve done great, the attitude [has been great]. We haven’t had one game that we could have rested players or taken our foot off the pedal, because they’ve had to play for results every single game. They’re that type of group that want to improve, and to be in a semi now is great, but we want to go all the way of course. We want to end the season with the best possible way – a final and a trophy, hopefully.”
Semi-Final Showdown With Roma Looms
Roma are currently languishing in seventh place on the Seria A table, and out of the European positions for next season.
However, after their performances across both legs against Ajax in their quarter-final match-up, the manager won’t be taking the next opponents lightly.
“I’ve not really seen too much of them. I know that they’ve had two good games against Ajax. They defend well, as Italians always do, of course. They’re an experienced team and we all know [Edin] Dzeko, so any ball in the box is a dangerous one. We’re looking forward to it, of course. We’re in a semi now, and it feels like a proper European tie, because Roma is a club with loads of tradition, history, but we’ve done well against Italian teams before. We’re looking forward to it and we’re going into them hoping to get to the final. If you can finish this season with a final and a trophy that would be great,” concluded Solskjaer.
The Red Devils will play the first match of the semi-final at Old Trafford before travelling to Rome for the second leg.
Before that however, they have tricky Premier League games to navigate against Burnley at home and Leeds away as the 2020/21 season reaches its climax.