Manchester United completed one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the club on Wednesday night, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men won 3-1 against Paris Saint-Germain to progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League on away goals.
The Reds trailed 2-0 after the first leg, but took themselves within one goal of an amazing victory thanks to two first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku. Then, in the 94th minute, a dramatic VAR-assisted penalty – blasted home by Marcus Rashford – drew the tie level on aggregate, with United boasting the crucial extra away goal.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game about his tie-winning penalty, Rashford revealed:
“I was just thinking: keep a cool head, you know? They are the type of things you practice every day. I wanted to take it, and probably other people on the pitch [did] as well, but it doesn’t matter because we’ve progressed to the next round!
“That’s probably the hardest thing – the wait before [the penalty], but it’s all part of the game. Those moments, that’s what we live for. You want to get through those moments and be smiling after.”
Romelu Lukaku, whose two predatory strikes earlier in the game had given the Reds hope heading into the final stages, said:
“It was good. We were confident the day before the game. Me and Marcus, in the last game against Southampton, as a pair up front, we knew that we could do the business today too. Today we played together, it was a pleasure to play like that, and we both scored, so we’re happy!
“Me and him agreed that when he steps out on the press I had to follow him, and he did well on pressing. It was just a one v one [the first] and the second one, I told him every time he shoots I’ll follow the ball as well, and that happened too.
”We just keep going. I think everything starts at the training ground. We do a lot of games – five v fives and six v six, eight v eights – and the competitiveness starts there. We already do great comebacks in training, so when we play the games it’s just natural to us. We play until the ref blows the whistle.“
The victory extended United’s club record-run of away victories to nine, and also made Solskjaer’s men the first team in Champions League history to overturn a deficit of two or more goals after playing the first leg at home.
The win was also achieved despite the absence of ten first-teamers – five of whom started the first leg on 12 February.
“Everything seemed to be against us, but like Rom said, we’re used to surviving in these moments, and today just proved that one more time. We go forward with this game now, but we can still improve of course. We keep pushing and bettering ourselves.”
United finished with five Academy graduates on the pitch, two of whom – Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood – were making their Champions League debuts. Greenwood – also making his first-team debut – became the youngest player ever to represent United in the European Cup/Champions League.
“It’s a beautiful thing, you know?”
“We’ve ten players injured, but for them [the youngsters] it’s an opportunity to come forward. They’ve been training every day, and it’s what they deserve.”