Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United have 'no excuses' for another semi-final failure ahead of City League Cup clash

Last season saw the Red Devils complete an unwanted treble of last-four losses

Powered by automated translation

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Manchester United have “no excuses” for failure as they look to change his losing record in semi-finals.

United host Manchester City on Wednesday in a repeat of last season’s League Cup last-four clash, albeit with the difference that it is only a one-legged tie now.

But United made the wrong sort of history as they became the first team to lose a FA Cup, League Cup and European semi-final in the same season.

Now Solskjaer has urged his side to take the next step and win the first trophy of his reign, which he feels would lead to more silverware.

He said: “We’re confident and going into the game in good form. There are no excuses. We’ve developed a lot in the last 12 months since the last semi in the Carabao Cup.

"It’s not just learning to win semis, we've also earned the right to feel we can go all the way with our performances. For this team getting our hands on a trophy would be a very big step. You play football to win and to get your hands on trophies. It gives you the hunger to get more.”

Besides City, United were beaten by Chelsea in the last four of the FA Cup and then Sevilla in the Europa League but Solskjaer feels his side have progressed since then.

“When you get to a semi you've done a lot of good work to get there and you play better opposition,” he said. “We've improved immensely in a year since the last semi and even from when we were in Europe in August.”

Solskjaer hopes the fixture list will give his side an added advantage. Whereas City faced Chelsea on Sunday, United beat Aston Villa on Friday.

“Hopefully, we have got more fresh legs,” he said. While City are expected to be without six players who tested positive for coronavirus, United’s only absentees are the injured Phil Jones and the suspended Edinson Cavani.

They drew 0-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League in December, a match when neither team showed much adventure. "The last game didn't have the X-factor, maybe because they were set up to counter-attack as well," Solskjaer said.

However, City were dominant in last January’s League Cup semi-final when they went 3-0 up in 38 minutes, in effect booking their passage to Wembley then. City played without a specialist striker then and Pep Guardiola revived his tactic of using a false nine to great effect at Stamford Bridge.

“You never know what kind of system he is going to come up with, but you've got to defend really well against City,” Solskjaer reflected. “City weren’t as possession-based against Chelsea, they were more counter-attacking. We’ve got to be aware of that as well as the possession game.”

But much of United’s threat can come from the counter-attack and it helped them beat City three times last season. Solskjaer added: “Away in the league, when we could have scored four or five in a 10- or 15-minute period, our counter-attacks were out of this world.’


Chelsea 1 Manchester City 3: player ratings