13 Feb 2019, 07:03 IST
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — When the truth test got here for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United, it wasn’t even handed out by a full-strength Paris Saint-Germain.
A 2-Zero victory within the Champions League — consigning Solskjaer to the primary loss 12 video games underneath his caretaker command — was produced by PSG on Tuesday with out two of the French membership’s fearsome forwards.
Neymar was already dominated out with a damaged foot when Edinson Cavani damage his left thigh on the weekend to affix the world’s most costly participant on PSG’s damage listing.
“They had been a stage above us,” Solskjaer stated after the primary leg of the last-16 contest which noticed United’s record-signing Paul Pogba despatched off.
Outdated Trafford as an alternative grew to become a stage for Kylian Mbappe to shine in tandem with Angel Di Maria, who relished the revenge mission on his return to his former membership.
By the point Di Maria responded to the torrent of abuse by choosing up a bottle of beer hurled at him and taking a sip, PSG was already main due to academy graduate Presnel Kimpembe’s first PSG purpose within the 53rd minute.
Di Maria, who struggled in his solely season at United earlier than being offloaded to PSG in 2015, despatched within the nook that Kimpembe raced into the penalty space unchecked to satisfy with a volley.
The second purpose, on the hour, was the end result of an electrical counterattack. As Di Maria despatched in a cross, Mbappe darted between middle backs Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof and clipped the ball underneath goalkeeper David de Gea for his 23rd purpose of the season.
“It was an ideal go for Kylian,” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel stated. “It was a pleasant comeback for him.”
Much less so, initially.
“Within the first half it was a bit laborious for him enjoying proper in entrance of me and shedding many simple balls,” Tuchel stated. “Possibly he was a bit nervous and a bit overused as a result of he performs on a regular basis for us. I am glad he stayed assured. He is at all times tremendous dependable.”
With out two of its traditional entrance three, the French league leaders commanded the midfield as an alternative, with Marco Verratti typically the orchestrator.
“It was a brand new system and we weren’t actually used to it,” Mbappe stated. “We had plenty of midfielders and never many forwards. We wanted time to adapt.”
United was pressured to adapt, too, after shedding Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to damage for the second half. Substitute Alexis Sanchez struggled to impose himself up entrance.
“I can not do something about Alexis Sanchez,” Solskjaer stated. “When he performs, he wants to search out himself as a result of we all know there is a high quality participant there.”
Solskjaer is able to reworking the fortunes of gamers — simply take a look at Pogba.
United can be with out its French playmaker within the second leg on March 6 in Paris after he obtained a second yellow card within the 89th minute for a lunge on Dani Alves.
“I do know Paul desires to only defend the ball so he is unfortunate that he hits (Alves) on the knee,” Solskjaer stated.
Not solely was it a primary loss for Solskjaer since changing Jose Mourinho, however the heaviest-ever residence defeat for United in Europe, having beforehand solely been overwhelmed by one-goal margins.
Within the evening’s different last-16 sport, teenager Nicolo Zaniolo scored twice to guide Roma to a 2-1 victory.
United’s lackluster efficiency was a continuation of the European type underneath Mourinho within the group stage. United has solely scored one purpose at residence in 4 Champions League video games this season, a 1-Zero victory over Younger Boys.
“It was a kind of experiences that may go both manner,” Solskjaer stated. “It is not going to be a season-defining one for us. It needs to be one which we’re going to be taught from.”
Except for victories in north London towards Arsenal and Tottenham, dealing with PSG was United’s largest take a look at since beating Italian champion Juventus at Turin in November within the group stage.
“You may see we have not performed video games at this stage for some time,” Solskjaer stated.
Twenty years after profitable the Champions League as a United participant, this was Solskjaer’s first style of the competitors in administration having solely beforehand coached Molde in his native Norway and Cardiff earlier than being employed by United.
Solskjaer was nonetheless Cardiff supervisor when United final received a knockout part sport within the Champions League — towards Olympiakos underneath David Moyes in March 2014. A repeat of that 3-Zero win in Paris subsequent month would take United via to the quarterfinals.
Fetching extra content material…