Whoever Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is talking to upstairs, it is working extremely well…
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After winning eight games on the trot in all competition to open up his caretaker reign at Manchester United, the Red Devils will now be boosted by the news that superstar Neymar is likely out for their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg in a few weeks.
Neymar fractured a metatarsal in the French Cup Wednesday, and his manager at PSG Thomas Tuchel gave the following update after their 4-1 Ligue 1 win against Rennes on Sunday.
“It’s going to be very difficult, that is clear,” Tuchel told reporters. “I do not have confirmation of a new diagnosis. As I explained yesterday (Saturday), it’s too early to talk about a return date. We have to wait for the first week, which is very important, and its reaction to treatment. Only after that can we be more precise, but it’s going to be very difficult (for the United match). It is not a secret.”
The French league leaders (PSG are 11 points clear with two games in hand, casual…) have plenty of other attacking weapons to harm United’s fragile defensive unit with, as Edinson Cavani, Angel di Maria and a certain Kylian Mbappe will be tasked with finishing United off in the first leg.
But Neymar has the x-factor for Les Parisiens and if he is out, United will fancy their chances of advancing to the last eight of the UCL. A big first leg display at Old Trafford on Feb. 12 could all but end the tie, and with United flying this news will give them a further boost.
With Solskjaer setting this United side up to counter with devastating effect (see: away wins at Tottenham, Arsenal in the past two weeks), right now you may give them a slight edge against PSG.
if Jose Mourinho was still in charge and Neymar was fully fit, you would have given United a 10 percent chance of advancing past PSG.
Now? It’s about 60-40 in PSG’s favor, and probably 50-50 if Neymar isn’t ready for the first leg.