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Solskjaer: If we don’t perform, we’re going home

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned his players against complacency ahead of Manchester United’s Europa League quarter-final clash against Copenhagen.

After rounds in the Netherlands, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Belgium, and Austria, Solskjaer’s Manchester United squad head to Germany for a quarter-final clash with FC Copenhagen.

The Red Devils made easy work of Club Brugge and LASK in their previous knockout fixtures, with a similar fate expected of Copenhagen.

The Danish side’s manager Stale Solbakken knows only a ‘perfect’ performance could give them a chance against an in-form United, who have lost just one of their last 23 games.

But as part of the new-look final eight format in the Europa League, the remaining rounds will be decided in one game rather than the traditional two-legged tie. Therefore, no team can afford even the tiniest slip-up. If so, there may be no turning back.

So Ole is taking nothing for granted ahead of United’s big night in Cologne and is refusing to look any further than that.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” said Solskjaer on the club’s website.

“Of course, we’ve put plans in place but, for me, it’s only about this game now. You can’t think too far ahead. It’s a knockout tournament. If you don’t perform, you’re going home.

“If you go through, then you’ve got a few days before the next game. But, at the moment, we don’t have a problem.”

Monday’s opponents Copenhagen are Denmark’s first-ever Europa League quarter-finalists, having beating newly crowned Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir 3-1 on aggregate in the previous round.

And Solskjaer, who played alongside Stale Solbakken for the Norwegian national team and studied for his coaching pro-license at Copenhagen, is aware of the club’s quality.

“I know how Stale has built the club and what they’re about,” continued Ole.

“Of course, I played against them when I was at Molde. I’ve known Stale for such a long time, and Copenhagen have a great history in getting into Europe and doing well in Europe.

“Stale’s team, they’ve got individuals there and very good players. There are young forwards, three of them, to be fair, and experienced players in midfield and at the back.

“But I think the biggest strength is the teamwork and how well organized Stale’s teams always are.”