Manchester United Hit Roma For Six
A come-from-behind victory at Old Trafford against AS Roma in their Europa League semi-final has Manchester United on the cusp of making their first final of the Ole Gunnar Solksjaer reign.
After being 2-1 down at half time, United turned up the pressure in the second half, scoring five goals against a shell-shocked Roma side who were dead on their feet after being forced to make three first-half substitutions.
The Manchester United manager was thrilled to see his team become the first team to net six in a European semi-final for almost 50 years.
After taking the lead early on, Solskjaer was disappointed to see United trail at half time, but praised the character his players showed to respond so convincingly in the second half.
Although they take a huge advantage to the Italian capital next week, Solskjaer doesn’t believe the job is done.
“No, you don’t feel the job is done but it was a good job done.”
“I think the character showed that they came back and didn’t lose their heads.
“You could say we’ve got one foot [in the final], but you need two feet.”
“We’re still halfway. A fantastic result to build on but you’ve got to be focused. I’ve seen stranger things. Football comes back to bite you if you take it too easily. We’ve just got to focus on Liverpool first and then Roma.”
“We did well, but we know they’ve got quality. They scored two goals with two chances [in the] first half, two moments that we gave them.
“They did the same to Ajax; they didn’t have loads of chances but they score. In Rome, a team will get four, five, six chances against you anyway. Very pleased with the response, the second half was very good,” said Solskjaer.
With an abundance of riches going forward, Solskjaer was delighted with the clinical finishing and movement of his front men.
“We know we’ve got creative players I know we’ve got players who create big moments and chances. It’s about getting them up there in positions.”
“Paul, I think is very good in that position [on the left-wing]. You’ve got the foundation behind him [with Fred and McTominay]. Marcus, Edi, Bruno, Paul… against any players they will create chances, so it’s about taking them. That’s the difference today; we took most of our chances.”
The four-goal lead puts United in a strong position going into the second leg next Thursday in Italy, and the result tonight was an historic one.
No other team has scored six or more goals in a European semi-final since Real Madrid did it in 1964 against Zurich.
The eleventh time that the club has scored six goals in a continental tournament is the first time it has achieved this feat.
Solskjaer was also questioned about what he said at half-time, when the Reds trailed 2-1 after a disappointing first half.
“We know that we are capable of scoring goals, as long as we didn’t concede more goals, we needed two more goals to go through over three 45-minute spells, but now, I couldn’t imagine how well we played second half,” said the boss.
“That was exhilarating [and] absolutely how we want to look. That’s how we want to look like: full-backs going forward, front four combining, centre-backs playing out from the back, two midfielders patrolling there… absolutely excellent performance.”
Edinson Cavani was arguably the man of the match, and has been in blistering form since returning from injury.
With United appearing to be on the up and up, Solskjaer is keen to keep hold of his hitman for another season.
“I’m delighted with him, you can see the difference in him when he’s worked on his fitness. He’s making up for lost time, it looks like.”
“He’s more than just a goal poacher and good goalscorer. He’s played for so long that he has that calmness and composure about him. The flick for the first goal and pass for Mason [Greenwood]’s goal. He’s showing his experience. We want the experienced players to step up and he definitely has done.”
“He was out for seven months and had not played for a long time before he came. He had injuries but worked hard, showed his quality. He knows I’d love to have him for another year.”
“I understand it’s been very difficult for him. I’ve promised him Old Trafford and Manchester is a different place with fans in it. He must try to get that feeling that Manchester is a good place to live. I’m doing my best. Hopefully, nights like this help him see himself here for another year,” concluded the manager.
After banging in six goals, a now-rampant Manchester United will turn their attention to hosting bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday, where supporters will be hoping for more of the same.