Ole Gunnar Solskjaer calls on Man Utd's 'big players' to step up in Europa League semi-final vs Sevilla
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Last Updated: 16/08/20 8:55pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on Manchester United's "big players" to step up as his team look to avoid a third semi-final loss of the season in the Europa League against Sevilla.
Having required extra-time to see off FC Copenhagen 1-0 in Monday's quarter-final, United will return to Stadion Koln on Sunday in search of a place in August 21 finale.
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United are looking to make it third time lucky having lost in the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, with Solskjaer underlining the importance of grasping this opportunity.
"You know that when you come to a semi-final, you're playing against big teams," the Norwegian said. "Good teams with quality
"It's time to step up for big players, big game moments.
"You have to have 100 per cent focus because any little moment can change the game.
"We've learned that it's very painful to lose a semi-final."
United have remained in Cologne since Monday's match and Solskjaer believes they are ready for the threat posed by Sevilla.
"We've had a few good days now preparing, both recovering and preparing, training," Solskjaer said.
"Not very often we have six days between games, so we're ready.
"We are physically definitely ready. Mentally the boys will be ready because a semi-final everyone would want to take part and join in. I just want them to enjoy it.
"For me as well, looking forward to the semis. We've been already twice now in the semi this season.
"Of course we're happy with going as far as we have but we're not satisfied. We want to go one step further."
Fernandes: United support has helped me shine
Bruno Fernandes sealed United's place in the Europa League semi-finals by keeping his nerve from the spot, securing a 1-0 extra-time victory against FC Copenhagen on Monday.
It was just the latest key impact made by the Portugal international, who has taken to life under Solskjaer like a duck to water.
"I can't say it was easy but, of course, we have had good results," Fernandes said.
"I was scoring some goals, but for me it was easy because the team helped me a lot. Everyone in the club helped me - the staff, the coach, everyone pass me a lot of confidence - so it was much easier for me.
"Maybe I think I play already in Italy, so I know how it is to be out of my country playing in different leagues. Of course, Premier League is completely different, but I have the confidence of my team-mates, from the coach, from the staff, from all the club.
"I think things are going really well because when you have the confidence from everyone you can do your game and try to do your best.
"Of course, all the conversations I have with the coach and with my team-mates, and, as I say before, the coach all the time speak with me and said to do my game, try to do what I already did in Sporting, to have the same confidence, to try the same things, to improve."
Maguire: I joined Man Utd to win trophies
Harry Maguire says Manchester United cannot be satisfied with third-placed finishes and semi-final spots, with the skipper single-minded in his ambition to lead the club to Europa League glory.
The 27-year-old says showing promise and going close is not enough for a club so synonymous with success.
"I joined this club to win trophies," he told PA news agency. "Getting to semi-finals isn't good enough for this club.
"It's been a promising year in the Premier League, we've finished third. Again, it's not something that this club wants to do, finish third, but at the start of the season from where we was last year, I'm sure a lot of people would have taken that.
"But for the future, that's not where we want to be. We want to be winning trophies, the Premier League and other cups.
"So semi-finals are nice to get to, but you've really got to get the job done and make the final and then go onto win it."
Manchester United have a chance to prove just how far they have come under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday in the Europa League semi-final.
The signs have been very promising - both visually and results-wise - but a win over Sevilla to reach a major European final would hammer home the theory that this team is going places fast. A place in the final against Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk is the prize on offer.
The last meeting between these two teams, just over two years ago, saw United dumped out of the Champions League last 16 by the La Liga side at Old Trafford. It was a performance that epitomised Jose Mourinho's final months in the job; unimaginative, stale and downright dull.