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Carabao Cup

Solskjaer preparing United for "very important" Carabao Cup showdown

United and City will go head-to-head for a place in the Final this week

6 January 2021

Manchester United will face arguably their biggest game of the season so far when they take on rivals Manchester City for a place in the Carabao Cup Final on Wednesday evening.

The Reds lost at the same stage, and to the same opponents, last season and will be out for revenge at Old Trafford, with a spot in April's showpiece clash on the line.

Speaking ahead of the game, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stressed the importance of the match to his side, as he targets a first piece of silverware since taking over the reins.

“It’s always a good question: how important is it? Then I can answer: very," he told reporters. "The next game is always important but a semi-final is always very important and a chance to get to the Final and to get your hands on a trophy in the next round.

"For this team, it would be a very big step, getting your hands on a trophy. We’ve developed a lot in the last six months, or 12 months from the last Carabao Cup Semi. It’s not just learning to win semis, we’ve also earned the right to feel we can go all the way with our performances.

"We’re confident; we go into the game in form. There are no excuses.”

Both United and City come into this clash on the back of a league victory, and with City looking to win the competition for a fourth consecutive season, Solskjaer is under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead.

“Well, you have two teams who want to get to the Final," he added. "We’ve had four days now after [Aston] Villa so, hopefully, we’ve got more fresh legs. It’s a difficult season, but I think we’ll benefit from the rotation we’ve made.

"I thought it was going to be important anyway this season, having fresh legs. You could see that with City against Chelsea, the amount of fresh legs, intensity and sharpness after the break they had. It showed, and that was a quality game - physically one of the more intense games that’s been in the league this season.

"I don’t think that’s a surprise there because they had a few extra days to prepare for that one. Two teams that want to go through. I think the last game showed two teams with respect for each other.

"They weren’t as much possession-based against Chelsea, they were more counter-attacking. They’ve got quick players on the break - of course, we have to be aware of that, as well as their possession game.”

Follow updates from the Semi-Finals via @Carabao_Cup on Twitter.

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