BARCELONA, Spain — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged his strikers to fire Manchester United to a Champions League victory at Barcelona on Tuesday.
United must score at least twice in the quarterfinal second leg at Camp Nou after losing the first leg at Old Trafford 1-0 and Solskjaer said their hopes would rest with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku.
His team failed to register a shot on target in the first game and are on a run of just four goals from open play in six games since a dramatic 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain saw them recover from a 2-0 first leg defeat in the previous round.
“That’s the $100 million question — who can score the goals,” the manager, back at the stadium where he scored the 1999 Champions League final winner, said. “That’s why the best strikers are the most expensive ones.
“We had a couple of decent chances, but when you can’t work the goalkeeper you can’t score. We know we’ll create chances, we have a goal threat — it’s about taking a deep breath and taking those chances.”
Solskjaer will be able to call on Alexis Sanchez, who has missed the last seven games with a hamstring injury.
He said the Chile international, likely to have to settle for a place on the bench, would “have a point to prove” as he returns to his former club on the back of disappointing United campaign that has brought just two goals in 23 appearances.
“Alexis has been here and played here and when he’s on the pitch he wants to prove a point for us as well,” Solskjaer said. “He’s been injured, not had a fantastic season so far, and let’s hope he can end the season great.
“We’re in the business end, playing games Manchester United are used to playing. We’re challenging for a semifinal. Let’s hope Alexis, when he’s on the pitch, he can be happy with his performance.”
Barca are unbeaten in 30 Champions League home games and were last knocked out of a European competition after winning the first leg in the 1984-85 season.
But Solskjaer said: “That memory from PSG will help the players. We know we can turn things round. Barcelona at Nou Camp is a difficult prospect, but the memory from that night will live with the players. It’s not that long ago and we’re one goal better off.
“If we get the first goal it’ll be so important, and suddenly we’re level and a draw would suit us.”