Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his players to use the “hurt” from their semi-final defeats this season to take them into the Europa League final.
Manchester United face Sevilla on Sunday for a place in the final and will be hoping to make it third time lucky, having exited the FA Cup and Carabao Cup at the semi-final stage this season.
Solskjaer wants his players to remember the pain they felt in those semi-final defeats and use it to inspire them to get the job done against Sevilla in Cologne.
“We’ve had two semi-finals before but we want to go to the next step,” said Solskjaer. “Reaching semi-finals is a good effort, decent, but it’s not good enough for Manchester United.
“Let’s make sure that hurt that we felt in the two other cups we went out of can maybe be the marginal difference, in that we want it more than them.
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“When I lose a game or lose at something, you don’t want that feeling again so I would think they’re ready for Sunday.
“Physically we’re fine, all the teams have played many games anyway. Now it’s about who is mentally strongest.
“You can look at the opponent and know they’re tired but you want them feeling more tired than you.
“You’ve got to be strong mentally, concentrated and focused, and any of these games can be, and will be, decided on a marginal decision or finishing.”
Solskjaer, speaking to MUTV, said he and his players are relishing the new Europa League single-game knockout format, adapted following the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s like a European Championships or a World Cup,” said Solskjaer. “You don’t get a second chance and you just know you have to leave everything on that pitch which for me is fine.
“It’s a different set-up to what we’re used to. We’re used to home and away, but for me this is the best scenario so that we can finish this tournament.”