Football

No second chance in Europa League semi-final, cautions Solskjaer

United manager wants to go one better against Sevilla in Europa League and avoid third semi-final loss this season

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his troops that there is no second chance against Sevilla and has challenged them not to become beaten semi-finalists for the third time this season.

United face the Spanish side in the last four of the Europa League on Monday morning (Singapore time) in Cologne in a one-legged semi-final due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's like a European Championship or a World Cup, you don't get a second chance and you just know you have to leave everything on that pitch which is fine," Solskjaer told the club website.

               SEMI-FINAL
SEVILLA MANCHESTER UNITED

"It's a different set-up to what we're used to, we're used to home and away, but this is the best scenario so that we can finish the tournament."

The 2017 Europa League winners go into the tie on the back of one loss in 24 matches, their only defeat coming in the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea.

They were also knocked out by Manchester City in the last four of the League Cup after failing to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit, winning only 1-0 in the return leg.

"We've had two semi-finals before, but we want to go to the next step," Solskjaer added.

"Reaching semi-finals is a good effort, decent, but it's not good enough for Man United.

"The team have been developing and getting more and more hungry... let's make sure that hurt that we felt in the two other cups we went out of can be the marginal difference, in that we want it more than them.

"When I lose a game or lose at something, I don't want that feeling again so I would think they're ready for Sunday."

Former United defensive stalwart Denis Irwin believes Solskjaer will stick largely to the first XI that were responsible for their recent run.

UNBEATEN RUN

Sevilla, who have won the Europa League five times, defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in the quarter-finals to stretch their unbeaten run to 19 games.

"We have had difficulty with Spanish teams, and with Sevilla before, but it's going to be a tough game. They've got one or two really good players in there," Irwin said.

"Ole will play his strongest side now. We had a purple patch when we came back after lockdown and were scoring goals for fun. Ole had a settled XI and I can't see him going too far from that."

The Red Devils needed a penalty - their 21st of the season - to overcome Copenhagen in their quarter-final, but former striker Robin van Persie said that their spot-kick record is an indication of the attacking football adopted by the club.

"If you get 21 penalties in a season, it shows that you're attacking a lot," van Persie told 90min.

"Maybe a couple of them could or could not be a penalty, but even then you're attacking and in a situation where the referee can give a penalty. It's a good thing that they're getting so many."

Also known for their attacking philosophy are Sevilla, and their coach Julen Lopetegui said they are ready to take down the "biggest team in the world".

"We are going to play against Manchester United in the next match - they're the biggest team in the world but we're going to be prepared for them," Lopetegui said.

"We are against a top, historic side, one of the best in the history of the sport who are in great form.

"To play against them will be really tough, but we'll go into it believing we can beat them."

Football