Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warns rest of Europe Manchester United can go all the way in Champions League

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Ole, Ole, Ole for Manchester United after their remarkable comeback against PSG. (AFP)
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Updated 07 March 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warns rest of Europe Manchester United can go all the way in Champions League

  • Brilliant win in Paris gives United confidence they can win Champions League, says interim boss.
  • First time side has comeback from a first-leg home defeat by two goals in the tournament's history.

LONDON: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told the rest of Europe Manchester United are the team to avoid after their sensational comeback against a dumbfounded Paris Saint-Germain.
Solskjaer’s side arrived in France looking to become the first side in the history of the Champions League to progress after suffering a first-leg home defeat by two goals. They were given little chance, not least because United had 10 first-team players out with injury and skipper Paul Pogba suspended after his red card in the first leg.
But a brace from Romelu Lukaku and an injury-time winner from the penalty spot from the nerveless Marcus Rashford gave United a 
remarkable win.

That has only added to the feelgood factor Solskjaer has created since becoming interim coach, and, now unexpectedly in the quarterfinals, the Norwegian is insisting he can lead the Reds to a fourth European Cup crown.
“Of course we fancy ourselves. We can go all the way,” the United coach, now red-hot favorite to be named Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor, said. “We just have to wait for the draw and take the game as it comes.”
It seems strange to say it, considering United’s packed trophy cabinet and habit of winning big matches, but this clash will go down as one of the most memorable results in the club’s storied history. Of the victory Solskjaer said: “We always believed (we could win). We set out the plan. It wasn’t about having the ball and outplaying (PSG).
“We had lots on injuries and suspensions and perhaps that was a good thing as we had a fresh team. Lots of energy we had to be humble enough to defend hard and we had the team to do that.”
Since he took over Mourinho Solskjaer has completely changed the atmosphere at United. Where once the club seemed defensive and downcast, the Norwegian has made it dynamic and delightful — all in the space of just over two months. It would be a huge shock if the man who has been beaten only once while in the Old Trafford dugout — the first leg against PSG — did not get the job long-term.
Of the potential to remain United coach, the 46-year-old said: “I keep doing this job as best as I can.
“It’s been a fantastic time with the players ... I’m going to enjoy this job as long as I’ve got it — I’m going to smile.”

Spain considers playing Super Cup in Saudi Arabia

Updated 10 min 48 sec ago

Spain considers playing Super Cup in Saudi Arabia

  • Proposal will be made at the federation’s general assembly next week

MADRID: The Spanish soccer federation is looking into the possibility of playing the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia beginning next year.

Federation President Luis Rubiales said Wednesday playing in the Middle East is one of the options being considered for the tournament, as well as a “final four” format with the top finishers in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.

The competition has been played in a one-game final between the champions at the beginning of the season. The idea is to play the new Super Cup in January.

The proposal will be made during the federation’s general assembly next week.

Rubiales did not confirm reports the deal will be worth €30 million ($33 million) a year for six seasons, saying “it will be difficult” to reach that value.

The federation president, one of the main critics of the Spanish league’s idea to play a regular-season match in the US, said the decision would take into consideration the players’ health, noting that playing in Saudi Arabia would not affect them as much as if the game was played in the US or Asia, where travel time and time differences were greater. Last year’s final, won by Barcelona against Sevilla, was played in Tangier, Morocco.

This year’s Italian Super Cup was played in Saudi Arabia as part of a multi-year deal worth more than €20 million ($22 million).  The Spanish players’ association, which complained about the Spanish league’s attempt to play in the US, did not oppose the idea of playing in Saudi Arabia.

“We weren’t against playing in the United States, what we wanted at the time was to be consulted about the idea and to give our opinion,” association president David Aganzo said Wednesday at an event organized by Europa Press. “If the proposal for the Super Cup is good for the players, we won’t have a problem with it.”

The Spanish league had to scrap the game in Florida after Barcelona, which would have faced Girona, backed down because of the lack of consensus among the parties involved. The league said it will try playing abroad again next season.

There is also a plan by the federation to reduce the number of games in the Copa del Rey to help clear up the calendar and keep teams from playing too many matches. The competition would include single elimination matches in some rounds, instead of a two-leg series. The proposal is also expected to be presented in next week’s general assembly.

“The clubs and the players want less official matches in the calendar,” Rubiales said.