Solskjaer tells Man Utd squad to match hunger of treble heroes

By Sports Desk May 26, 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told his Manchester United players he wants them to match the desire and verve of the 1999 treble winners.

The United manager was a Champions League final hero at Camp Nou on May 26, 1999, when his last-gasp strike secured a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.

It sealed a spectacular season for Alex Ferguson's United, who also won the Premier League and FA Cup.

"It's a day that you'll never, ever, ever forget - the celebration at the end and all the build-up to the game and its history and we're proud of it. It was an amazing day for the club," Solskjaer told MUTV when speaking on the 21st anniversary of the match.

"It has been [life-changing] of course. It didn't make me a better player, for sure, but of course I'll always be remembered for scoring that winning goal. And it's just down to luck, but still I'll never get tired of talking about that night.

"The harder you work, the more lucky you get, and as a striker I've never, ever practised that type of finish. That was just instinct, it just happened."

He recalled the moment Teddy Sheringham equalised for United in the first minute of stoppage time, which barely left any time for a winner, yet United found one to break Bayern hearts.

"I thought, 'Fantastic, I’m going to play 30 minutes of extra-time in a Champions League final, I'm going to get a fantastic experience'," Solskjaer, who had come off the bench late in the game, added.

"But then Denis [Irwin] plays a ball in behind, I make a run, and we get a corner, and anything can happen with this bunch of players. They were unbelievable.

"That group and camaraderie and their winning mentality - never give up - that's for me Man United, and that's what we're trying to get back in."

United last won the Premier League in 2013 and they sat fifth in the table when the 2019-20 season was suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Anniversaries can feel more poignant when a team might be struggling to match previous levels of success.

The winning goal in 1999 still resonates with Solskjaer, but the Norwegian was fearing a linesman's flag when he prodded home after Sheringham flicked on David Beckham's corner from the left.

“I remember the touch, but more so not being sure if I was offside or onside," he said. "So before I really wanted to celebrate, I needed to check if the flag was up.

"It was an amazing feeling and I clearly remember all the subs coming in and celebrating. Where did they come from? They were quicker than lightning to get there."

Recalling the celebrations when United went on a bus tour of Manchester to mark their success, Solskjaer said: "There was no social distancing, that's for sure."

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