Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his side are ready for a “difficult” challenge when they take on AC Milan in the second-leg of their Europa League last 16 tie at the San Siro (Match Result – AC Milan 12/5, Draw 12/5, Man United 23/20).
The two teams will head into Thursday’s showdown locked together at 1-1 from last week’s first-leg, a match that saw Amad Diallo open the scoring for United before Simon Kjaer grabbed what could be a crucial away goal for Milan deep into second-half stoppage time.
Both teams are set to welcome back key players for the second-leg, with Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and David de Gea all in contention to feature for United, while Milan could have Zlatan Ibrahimovic available to take on his former club.
Solskjaer is certainly expecting United to be put to the test on Thursday and he knows they will have to be at their best if they are to progress through to the quarter-finals.
“We saw the game last week and how difficult its going to be,” the Norwegian said at his pre-match press conference. “A physical side, loads of energy and good quality in the team.
“We need to perform at our best level to go through.”
Arsenal’s passage through to the quarter-finals looks set to be a lot smoother, as Mikel Arteta’s side hold a 3-1 advantage heading into the second-leg of their tie with Olympiakos at the Emirates Stadium, although the Greek champions did knock the Gunners out of the competition last season (Match Result – Arsenal 2/5, Draw 19/5, Olympiakos 13/2).
Tottenham also look well placed to progress, as they will take a 2-0 lead to Croatia for the second-leg of their tie with Dinamo Zagreb, who will have a new manager at the helm, with Damir Krznar having replaced Zoran Mamic earlier this week (Match Result – Dinamo Zagreb 3/1, Draw 13/5, Tottenham 10/11).
Rangers could also book their place in the last eight on Thursday, with Steven Gerrard’s side set to face Slavia Prague at Ibrox following a 1-1 draw in the Czech Republic last week (Match Result – Rangers 13/10, Draw 23/10, Slavia Prague 11/5).
The newly crowed Scottish Premiership champions should fancy their chances of getting the job done, as they are unbeaten on home soil this season, winning 20 of their 21 games to date.
Thursday’s other Europa League ties see Roma and Ajax look to protect 3-0 first-leg advantages when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk and Young Boys respectively, while Spanish duo Villarreal and Granada also look well placed to progress, as they are both 2-0 up heading into their coinciding clashes with Dynamo Kyiv and Molde.