Jacob Neestrup: Parken atmosphere is 100 times more intense than Old Trafford

By Sports Desk November 07, 2023

FC Copenhagen coach Jacob Neestrup has warned Manchester United the atmosphere at Parken will be 100 times more intense than Old Trafford ahead of Wednesday’s key Champions League clash.

Harry Maguire’s header and Andre Onana’s stoppage-time spot-kick save secured Erik ten Hag’s stumbling Red Devils a much-needed 1-0 victory against the Danish champions a fortnight ago.

It was a crucial win having lost their first two Group A games to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray, but United must now build on that triumph in Copenhagen.

The hosts need a win themselves having secured one point despite going close in their first three fixtures and Neestrup believes Parken’s intense atmosphere will be different for United.

“What can they expect? I would say with all the respect I felt when I stepped into Old Trafford, then I felt the historical atmosphere,” the 35-year-old said.

“But you can’t compare Old Trafford with Parken because the intensity is times 100 in terms of what we played in two weeks ago.

“Then this is a standard (that), for me, is way above Premier League, to be honest.”

Neestrup’s bold comments about the contrasting atmospheres was put to United midfielder Christian Eriksen, who knows the stadium better than most.

“I’ve never played against Copenhagen in here, I’ve only been here with the national team,” the Denmark international said with a smile.

“I do know the atmosphere with the national team is very special, so I do expect a special atmosphere.

“But I don’t know if it’s 100 times more theatrical than it would be at Old Trafford! I’m not sure about that.”

United boss Ten Hag was also asked about readiness to play in front of a hostile crowd.

“We are looking forward (to it),” he said of the game at Parken. “This team is experienced and experienced hostile.

“For instance, last year, Barcelona and we can get good performances and we can get good results. We know that.”

United are under scrutiny as they head to the Danish capital, having edged past Fulham 1-0 as they responded to back-to-back 3-0 home defeats to Manchester City and Newcastle.

Put to Neestrup that Copenhagen are facing a side in unconvincing form, he said: “But I don’t care. I also thought it was a perfect time to play Bayern Munich.

“We play at home, we are a big, big club in Copenhagen, so for me it really doesn’t matter.

“If we’re going to play a team tomorrow who have won 20 games in a row or, in terms of your words, are struggling a little bit, because for us it’s the same.

“We need a result. Best case three (points), next best it’s one. But the shape that the opponent arrive in I don’t care, really.”

Wednesday’s match will see Rasmus Hojlund return to his hometown club, where his younger brothers Emil and Oscar currently play.

Copenhagen midfielder Rasmus Falk, who played alongside the United striker during his time at Parken, said: “His strength is he is very, very fast, very, very strong, then his mentality.

“He wants to score goals, he wants to do the best all the time and the hunger he shows in the game is, for me, his biggest strength.”

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