Dear reader, do not forget that Manchester United had an even bigger hill to push water up after the first leg against PSG. Their Champions League isn’t definitively over because Luke Shaw managed to put the ball past his own goalkeeper at Old Trafford last night. And, there is also that small matter of Barcelona finding some highly unlikely ways to get knocked out over the last few seasons.
Yes, yes of course logic suggests there is no chance at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can take this United team to the Camp Nou and come away with yet another miraculous recovery. He can start talking up United’s history of famous comebacks in Catalonia all he wants, but realistically United are done. But realism and football don’t always occupy the same half-space. This might not be over yet.
One of the more random facts to come out of last night’s match was that Marcus Rashford has played every minute of his professional career since Luis Suarez last scored an away goal in the Champions League. Well, there you go.
Solskjaer was either very brave or very foolish in thinking that almost the same midfield that had saved the day in Paris could shackle Messi and co. But, in fairness, they came away relatively unscathed. After all, United were always going to have to score in Barcelona, weren’t they?
Barcelona played a little bit like a boxer cruising to a comfortable win on points without feeling the need to deliver a knockout blow and for a side that managed to find a way to get eliminated by PSG and Roma in the last two seasons when holding a far greater advantage this could, but probably won’t be, their undoing.
Oh, and Ashley Young. This just shows you how bad Antonio Valencia must be nowadays.
One player almost certain to be leaving United over the summer is Ander Herrera who is off to PSG. You’d presume this is a player that Solskjaer would rather retain given how he was playing before his agent took the call from France. Still, Fred and McTominay are the future, eh?
If they are not, United could well splash the cash on Atletico Madrid’s Saul who would cost a cool £150m just to activate the release clause. Toby Alderweireld’s name is still not scribbled out on Mr Ed’s list of targets so maybe this summer is finally the summer?
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has made it clear once again that Danny Drinkwater doesn’t feature in his plans as he doesn’t feel the midfielder can play in his famed Sarriball system. Well hang on a minute, if that is the criteria why the hell are half the squad still getting a game?
Ilkay Gundogan has suggested Man City need to stop being so damn nervous in Champions League matches and City’s reponse to this is to give Inter the green light to make a bid for the midfielder.
Eddie Howe has noticed that neither of his two goalkeepers are very good at all and is considering a bid for Stoke’s Jack Butland who is so forgotten his price might have gone down or Burnley’s Nick Pope who really could do with getting a Premier League game again.
Noticing the obvious seems to be catching down on the South Coast as Ralph Hasenhuttl has also cottoned on to the fact that someone who can score goals might be an upgrade on Shane Long. Birmingham City’s Che Adams is the man in the spotlight.
Wilf Zaha has made it clear, again, that leaving Palace once was foolish and to do it a second time would be downright negligent. He’s staying put.