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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the Manchester United players will rise to the occasion when they head to the decisive Champions League clash at RB Leipzig without Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial.
Having started Group H with a win at Paris St Germain before putting on a five-star display against the German team, subsequent mistakes mean the Red Devils are approaching their final level by nine points with both teams.
United’s 3-1 loss at home to PSG last week allowed them to miss a chance to seal progress with a match to spare. But a positive result in the high-flying Bundesliga Leipzig will be enough to reach the knockout stage.
An unwanted Europa League campaign awaits them if they falter against last season’s Champions League semi-finalists. But Solskjaer believes his players will prove themselves with qualification at stake.
“Knockout games or games like this that mean you can pass or not are great,” said the United manager.
“The players are here, they are Man United players, because they have qualities that we look for and I am sure that tomorrow night he will show that this is the reason why they are here, they will show it.
“I think the character of the group is getting better and better and we are looking forward to the game.
“It’s something we want, games like this. It’s a tradition for Man United, we never make it easy for ourselves.
Of course, we watched the games, especially the away game against Istanbul (Basaksehir) where we could have gotten three points, but that’s how we do things.
“We make it difficult for ourselves. That has been since I played and a long, long time ago. “
United’s task at Red Bull Arena will be hampered by the absence of three first-team players.
Fred is suspended following last week’s red card against PSG, while attackers Cavani and Martial have not traveled after suffering blows in Saturday’s 3-1 comeback win at West Ham.
“David (De Gea) is back, Luke (Shaw) is traveling,” Solskjaer said of his 23-member touring team.
“Edinson and Anthony, they only have minor inconveniences, but they won’t make the trip.
“You get to the last game of the group stage and you’re in the next round if you win that game or if you get a draw, so it’s an important game. Of course it is. “
Man Utd ‘cannot ignore’ previous result
United can rely on the fact that they have won eight of their nine away games in all competitions this season, including comebacks in all five Premier League away wins.
Solskjaer’s team have struggled to match that form at an empty Old Trafford, although they did get a 5-0 win there against Leipzig.
“You can’t ignore it,” the United manager said of that impressive October win. Of course, it is a game that we will remember fondly because we did many things well, and we have to do many things well again.
“But we must also correct the few mistakes we had and we will. We have prepared well. We know Leipzig well enough to know that they are unpredictable in their form or systems, but we do know the players and the style in which they play.
“We know that it is going to be a very difficult game, a difficult game in which we have to do our best to get a result.”
READ MORE: Solskjaer makes promise on Man Utd’s focus on ‘unpredictable’ Leipzig ‘