Having steered his side to four semifinals, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to progress further than the last four in any cup competition as Manchester United manager, with his latest chance to end that hoodoo against AS Roma tonight.
Domestic progress has been made, with United in a robust place to finish second in the Premier League this season after coming sixth and third in the earlier two campaigns. However, the trophy cabinet stays empty.
What’s more frustrating for fans desperate for the membership to clinch their first piece of silverware since the 2017 Europa League under Jose Mourinho is United maintain getting so close.
Whether it be the two League Cup semifinal defeats to Manchester City, the one to Chelsea in the FA Cup last yr, or the final-four Europa League loss to Sevilla shortly after, United have found a strategy to stumble on the last under Solskjaer.
Victory over Granada in this seasons last eight has given Solskjaer the fifth alternative to go all the way to the final, with AS Roma the latest to strive to lengthen the Norwegian’s agony.
But clashes with Roma elicit fond European memories for Solskjaer, as the Italian side were his last opponent as a participant in Europe for United.
Having lost the first leg of the 2006-07 Champions League quarterfinal 2-1 in Rome, United thrashed the Italians 7-1 in the return match, with Solskjaer approaching as a second-half substitute.
“I started the first leg, however can’t remember if I completed it because we played with 10 men and dug out a good result,” Solskjaer told a news conference yesterday.
“He (manager Sir Alex Ferguson) was assured we may undergo however that night at Old Trafford was magical. We were on fire and showed what United can do.”
Solskjaer retired from playing at the end of that campaign and began his career in coaching with United’s academy a year later.
Now, as his third season as United coach nears its finish, the transition interval is over and a protracted trophy drought is not going to be tolerated.
Roma had been snug in the Serie Atop four at the turn of the yr, however, a run of one win in their last seven league matches means they’ve dropped to seventh, with pressure mounting on coach Paulo Fonseca.
“We positively have an important probability to get by, we do have the better team,” former United defender Wes Brown, who also played in the 7-1 win, informed Reuters.
“We’ve been knocked out in the semifinals the last few years – I just hope the lads have learned from that.
“Getting to a final is a hurdle they really need to recover from. The lads are playing well and with the experience, they’ve had in the past they can push on. It will be great for Ole, too.”
United have hit good form at the proper time, shedding solely one of their last 21 matches in all competitions.