OLD TRAFORM, Injured duo Neymar and Edinson Cavani will be missing for the first leg at Old Trafford, while United chief Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to go 12 matches unbeaten in charge of the Red Devils.
United’s rebirth under Solskjaer couldn’t have been any more poorly timed as far as PSG counterpart Thomas Tuchel is concerned. Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial have lit up Old Trafford in recent weeks, helping guide the rejuvenated Premier League outfit to a record of 10 wins and one draw under their Norwegian coach.
This will be the first competitive meeting between these two teams; PSG triumphed 2-0 in their only previous encounter—a 2-0 International Champions Cup win in Chicago in 2015.
Following Neymar’s metatarsal injury earlier this winter, Cavani suffered a knock to his hip during Saturday’s 1-0 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux, ruling him out of Tuesday’s first leg as well.
PSG will also miss right-back, Thomas Meunier, after he suffered a concussion against Bordeaux, while Marco Verratti only just made his return from injury with a 60-minute display.
Talismanic 20-year-old Kylian Mbappe remains as the last bastion of Tuchel’s usual three-pronged attack, but per Goal.com, the manager recently said it’s not the Frenchman’s job to replace Neymar and Cavani:
“You can’t place all of the burden and pressure on him. It’s not his job to replace Cavani and Neymar and he can’t play all three roles at once. I want us to provide him the right kind of support. You cannot replace quality players, and we cannot replace Neymar. Manchester United could not replace Pogba or Rashford. We cannot replace Neymar.”
United looked lost under Jose Mourinho and destined to fall in the round of 16. However, Solskjaer has instilled new belief, and the right result in this first leg could blaze a trail to a surprise berth in the quarter-finals.
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Each team will be looking to their respective 2018 World Cup winners to pull out the result at Old Trafford, as United lean on the in-form Pogba while PSG hopes Mbappe can come up with the goods.
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