Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he did not disrespect Roma as they prepare for their Europa League semi-final first leg.
After their win over Granada in the last round Solskjaer said he “had not seen too much of” the Italian side.
Roma fans put banners up near their training ground with Solskjaer’s face on them and the quote “I don’t know them and I haven’t seen them play”.
“That was straight after the game,” Solskjaer said.
“With all the games we’ve had I was just relieved that we’d gone through.
“Of course I’ve watched them but I hadn’t analysed and hadn’t seen them in depth to give them enough respect probably with analysis.
“I could’ve said, which I truly mean, ‘it’s a fantastic club with a great history’. I know about the history, I know about the quality.”
Forward Anthony Martial and defender Phil Jones are out for United, but Eric Bailly – who recent signed a new deal – could make his first appearance in six weeks.
Solskjaer said it would be a “dream come true” to win a trophy as Manchester United manager.
United have lost all four semi-finals they have played in under former United striker Solskjaer in the past 18 months.
Solskjaer’s last trophy was the 2013 Norwegian Cup with Molde.
“It will be a dream come true the day I lift a trophy with this club as a manager,” he said. “Our ambition is to finish the season by lifting a trophy. I know how much that would mean to this group going forward.”
- This will be the seventh meeting between Manchester United and Roma in European competition. The Red Devils have only lost one of the previous six (W4 D1) – all of which have been in the Champions League.
- Roma have lost all three of their previous away games against Manchester United, conceding nine goals and scoring just once in return. This will be their first such trip since April 2008, when they lost 1-0 in a Champions League quarter-final.
- United have only lost one of their last 12 games against Italian opponents in European competition (W8 D3), with the only defeat in this run coming at home to Juventus in the Champions League group stage in 2018-19.
- Roma will be looking for their first European victory away to English opponents since February 2001 (1-0 v Liverpool in the Uefa Cup), having failed to win any of their last 12 such games against seven different English sides (D4 L8).
- Manchester United have not lost at home in a European semi-final since April 1997 (1-0 v Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League), winning four and drawing three of their last seven such games.
- Roma have won all five of their games after the group stages in the Europa League this season – they last won more in a single Uefa Cup/Europa League campaign in 1990-91 (seven), a season in which they went on to reach the final.
- Since making his debut in the competition in February 2018, Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in more goals in the Europa League than any other player (26 – 17 goals and nine assists).
- Roma striker Edin Dzeko has scored five goals in four previous games against Manchester United at Old Trafford, including a double in each of his last two there while playing for Manchester City (in October 2011 and March 2014).