Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday went pretty close to plan. Almost too close.
The Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted his team to score early and have a chance to win it late, and that’s exactly what happened. It allowed his side an incredible European night, overcoming the odds to defeat PSG and advance in the UEFA Champions League.
“We always believe, that’s the thing,” Solskjaer said after the match. “We set out the plan. It wasn’t about having the ball and outplaying them. If you give this team too much space and time, with Mbappe, we saw a few times in the first half when we missed our defensive shape and they were through us straight away.
“The plan was to get the first goal and be in the game with five or 10 minutes to go and we were. The belief in the boys was just what we hoped for. Of course, there was a great start. We set out a plan to get the first goal. We didn’t expect it after two minutes, but that made it more open for us. We wanted many goals in the game.”
Lukaku’s second-minute goal did indeed open up the game and although Juan Bernat tied the score at 1-1 with a goal at the far post, it always seemed like the game had more goals in it. Lukaku’s second goal and some last-minute defending in the second half from Manchester United kept the Red Devils in the game, and allowed them to take advantage of a VAR decision.
It’s the second European stunner in as many days, after Ajax routed Real Madrid, 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Solskjaer said that after watching Ajax’s win, it gave the team even more resolve and belief.
“It’s the Champions League,” Solskjaer said. “That’s what it does. We saw last night, Real Madrid v Ajax. That was our team talk. It was probably their team talk as well. Last year, it was Real Madrid v Juventus, that was close, the year before Paris against Barcelona. We always know that it’s possible and with this club, this is what we do. That’s just Man United.”