Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero believes that his club possesses a secret weapon run their pursuit of UEFA Europa League glory for the second time in three seasons. The Argentinian has played in eight of the ten matches played in the competition this season and flew to Germany ahead of their quarter-final match against FC Copenhagen on Monday evening earlier on Sunday. Should United win this match, they will set up a semi-final place against either Wolverhampton Wanderers of Sevilla, which should be a good match.
Romero believes that this close-knit squad has an advantage over their opposition this season after they have achieved their first objective of reaching the UEFA Champions League after finishing third in the Premier League, which was something that seems unlikely at the time football was suspended with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the country into lockdown. However, United clawed back the 14 points Leicester City had over them, finishing four points clear over the team which lifted the Premier League in the 2015/16 season. Romero, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:
“In Argentina, we say these are ‘vida o muerte ‘, life-and-death games because, if you win, you progress. But, if you lose, you’re going home.
“The fact is it will be decided by one-off games that you have to win. Anything can always happen in a game, your focus and mindset always need to be spot on, and your legs have to always respond.
“As a group of players, if we have a team-mate who is struggling a bit on the day, all the lads have to give him a lift, so he can compete in the game in the best possible way.
“For sure, every bit of work and effort every day in training, as well as all our dreams are focused on getting United back to another Europa League final.
“So, we’re going to work hard for that to happen.”
This season, Romero has played just 16 times this season, eight times in the Europa League (so far), five times in the FA Cup and three times in the Carabao Cup, keeping 11 clean sheets and conceding five goals. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could decide to stick with the Argentinian against Copenhagen and possibly in each match that United play in, which would show the confidence the manager has in the player. For Romero to concede just five goals this season in 16 appearances, it shows that he is a decent goalkeeper and ready for the challenge.
Solskjaer has taken a big squad to Germany for the rest of the Europa League campaign, which could last just one match, two matches or three if United go all the way to the final. All three matches will be played at the same stadium in Cologne, so that is a bonus for United, who will not need to travel around Germany en-route to the final, if they actually get there. United have a good chance of winning the competition this season and United’s players should ensure they get there.
Whilst United do not need to win the competition to earn a place in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, like there did three seasons ago, they are playing for pride and the fact that the squad is now a young and progressive squad who have grown as a team and have risen to the challenges that have been thrown at them. Obviously, there is room to grow and lost of rebuilding left which could ensure the squad challenge for the Premier League title and beyond, which is what Solskjaer will be wanting to do at the club.
Written by John Walker