Solskjaer knows the job is not done yet for Manchester United

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  • Post published:May 6, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the brink of his first final as Manchester United manager but the 1999 treble hero is not getting complacent, saying there have been ‘bigger upsets’ than the one Roma require in the Europa League.

Having lost in four different semi-finals over the past two seasons, the Red Devils look set to make it fifth time lucky thanks to last Thursday’s 6-2 first-leg thrashing of the Giallorossi at an empty Old Trafford.

United became the first side to score six goals in a European semi-final since 1964 and are overriding favourites to reach the Gdansk showpiece on 26 May, but Solskjaer is not taking progress to the final for granted.

‘It’s going into the game, wanting to win the game, play a good game of football, approach it [right],’ he said ahead of Thursday’s second leg in the Italian capital.

‘As a team we need to develop, we need to improve. We know we’re not at the standard yet where we can go into a game thinking we can play on the result.

‘We’re not going to play on the result. We’re going to play to win that game.

‘That’s the only way I think we should approach these games to develop, to test ourselves, to challenge ourselves.

‘Of course, there might be one or two changes in the selection because of the games coming up as well, but we have to get into a final.

‘Everyone says it’s done. It’s not because I’ve seen bigger upsets that this.

Bruno Fernandes netted twice in Manchester United's 6-2 win against Roma

Bruno Fernandes netted twice in Manchester United’s 6-2 win over Roma (Martin Rickett/PA)

‘Roma has been part of big upsets, they beat Barcelona not long ago after being 4-1 down.’

United head into the match well rested having seen Sunday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool called off due to the anti-Glazer protests at Old Trafford.

Daniel James was absent from the squad named for that game and is not part of the 24-man party heading to Italy.

Solskjaer says the Wales international is ‘still out for a little while’, joining Phil Jones and Anthony Martial on the sidelines.

Anthony Martial's last club appearance was March's FA Cup quarter-final loss at Leicester

Anthony Martial’s last club appearance was March’s FA Cup quarter-final loss at Leicester (Ian Walton/PA)

The latter was expected to be out for the rest of the season having injured his knee on international duty with France in March, but the forward could yet make the Europa League final in Poland.

‘Anthony’s looking good,’ Solskjaer told club media. ‘He has just about started outside jogging, which is the first step on the rehab, of course.

‘He’s done most of the work in the gym and to see him out there getting some fresh air is good and hopefully we will see him before the season is out.

‘He’s supporting the team, he wants to be a part of the final and he’s working hard to be available before that.’

Martial’s absence has been offset by Edinson Cavani returning to fitness, with the 34-year-old scoring twice during a man-of-the-match display against Roma last week.

Solskjaer has been trying to persuade the veteran to stay beyond the end of the season and reports have emerged suggesting the Uruguay international is committing to another campaign.

‘We’ve had some good conversations, some good lately and even though the decision is still in his court, I’m still hopeful,’ he said.

‘Maybe more so when you see him on Thursday against Roma and then after that game talking to him about when you are doing that in front of a full Stretford End that’s different, that’s magic. I’m still hopeful, yeah.’