Paris St-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel has confirmed Edinson Cavani will not face Manchester United due to a hip injury. Tuchel says Cavani’s absence at Old Trafford is an additional blow.
Fellow forward Neymar is already ruled out of Tuesday’s first leg and the return game on 6 March through injury. He said: “Would Man Utd miss Pogba or Rashford? Of course. Neymar is one of our best players and one of the best players in Europe. We will miss him a lot. And now Cavani is out.”
The 31-year-old injured a tendon in his hip after scoring a penalty in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Bordeaux. Neymar is out for 10 weeks with a broken metatarsal suffered in a 2-0 French Cup victory over Strasbourg on 23 January.
That leaves World Cup-winning forward Kylian Mbappe – who replaced Cavani at the weekend – as the only fit member of their first-choice front three. “You can’t place all the burden on Mbappe. It’s not his job to replace Cavani and Ney,” said Tuchel.
“He has to be free to play his game. I want us to provide him with the right kind of support. He needs to play with a good mindset and to be positive. “We are here to score, perhaps more than one.”
|PSG’s front three in 2018-19|
Right-back Thomas Meunier is also out of the first leg with a concussion but Marco Verratti is fit after an ankle problem.
United have almost a fully-fit squad, with Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian the only injury absentees. Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard could be recalled after they were dropped to the bench for Saturday’s win at Fulham.
Solskjaer looking forward to ‘special’ European nights
United head into Tuesday’s game on the back of 10 wins in 11 matches, to climb back into the Premier League’s top four and reach the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now wants to transfer domestic form into Europe, admitting it has been too long since Old Trafford enjoyed a big night in the Champions League.
“Both the players and the supporters have been looking forward to some of these nights because they have always been special,” he said.
“Maybe my last one [as a player] was when we beat Roma 7-1 [in 2007], a typical Old Trafford night. “We lost 2-1 away and the manager was so happy. He said, ‘That’s OK, we will win at home’. He was so confident in our abilities.
“I just want my players to go into this game confident and embrace it.” Three-time European champions United have won only one of their last nine knockout games in the Champions League – a 3-0 victory over Olympiakos under David Moyes in March 2014.
They have not progressed beyond the last 16 since then.
United have 35% chance of reaching quarters
Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenote, said: “Manchester United are ranked 10th by the Euro Club Index and are given a 35% chance of reaching the quarter-finals. Paris Saint-Germain are a good deal better than any of United’s opponents since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the manager.
“United’s chance of winning the Champions League has improved from 1% at the beginning of the tournament to 2% now. It would have improved more if they had not been drawn against one of the five best teams remaining.”
Man Utd meet PSG for the first time – the stats
- This will be the first competitive encounter between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. Four of the last five two-legged encounters between teams from England and France in the Champions League knockout phase have seen the French side progress.
- No French team has ever beaten Manchester United away from home in European competition (D4 L10). In the Champions League, only two French sides have avoided defeat at Old Trafford: Monaco in March 1998 (1-1), Lille in October 2005 (0-0).
- PSG have won only one of their 10 away games in all competitions against English opposition (D4 L5). It was a 2-1 victory against Chelsea in March 2016 in the round of 16, the last time they progressed through a knockout round of the Champions League.
- PSG have reached the Champions League knockout stages for a seventh consecutive season, the longest current run after Real Madrid (22), Barcelona (15) and Bayern Munich (11). However, they have never progressed further than the quarter-finals in that time, dropping out at the round of 16 in each of the last two campaigns.
- PSG scored more goals than any other team in the Champions League group stages this season (17 in six games).
- 57% of Manchester United’s goals in the Champions League this season have been scored after the 85th minute (4 out of 7).
- Old Trafford has witnessed the fewest goals in this season’s Champions League group stages (2 in 3 games).
- Among the 16 managers left in this season’s Champions League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is one of three to have won it as a player (with Man Utd in 1999), alongside Pep Guardiola (with Barcelona in 1992) and Santi Solari (with Real Madrid in 2002).
Source: BBC News