Champions League 2018-19, PSG 1-3 Manchester United: 5 ways Solskjaer masterminded a miraculous comeback
Manchester United travelled to Paris looking to do something that has never been done before - turning a 2 goal deficit around, away from the home, in the Champions League knock out stages. In the history of the tournament, no team has ever come back from a 2-0 home defeat, to progress into the next round.
Solskjaer perhaps had that statistics in the back of his mind, but it was the least of his concerns. United were missing Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic through injury and Paul Pogba was suspended from the second leg. To make matters worse, their replacements - Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez, were also injured. As such, United had brought along 6 academy youngster who might be full of spirit, but lacked experience at the highest level. It was no wonder that his team selection would be a big headache.
Solskjaer opted for a back four of Bailly, Smalling and Lindelof and Shaw. Young, McTominay, Fred and Andreas Pereira made up the new look midfield, while Lukaku and Rashford led the attack.
The away team had a fantastic start to the night, with Romelu Lukaku scoring in the second minute. It gave United the belief that anything was possible, but PSG equalized through Bernat in the 12th minute. However, Lukaku put the away team 2-1 up in the 30th minute. It started a frenzy on the field, as United just needed a goal more to progress on the basis of the away goal rule.
However, the goal eluded both sides, until the last moment of the game, when United got a penalty via VAR and Rashford blasted United home! The game ended 1-3 on the night in favour of United, 3-3 on aggregate and United progressed on the basis of three away goals.
United made history on the night, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer churned up a miracle that looked impossible before the game and here are 5 tactics from the Norwegian that won United the game.
#5 Maturity on the field
In the first leg against PSG at Old Trafford, the French Champions showed a degree of maturity that comes with age and experience. United’s relatively young team were undone by the cunning tactics from PSG seasoned warriors, who went to ground at the slightest invitation, wasted time and dictated the tempo of the game. United fell short of such maturity and composure and it cost them the game.
Solskjaer definitely took note of this as did his wards and United showed a degree of maturity at Paris. They inflicted the same tactics onto PSG, giving them a taste of their own medicine. United were clever in challenges and ensured that PSG never got any undue advantages from the 50/50s. There was just the right amount of tugging, the time wasting and hitting the ground after every challenge. It helped them unsettle the home team and kept them in course for a historic win.