St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier does not believe the 3-0 loss at Manchester United is an “insurmountable handicap” and pledged to go for the jugular in the Europa League return leg.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hat-trick and the battle between the Pogba brothers dominated the first-leg headlines on a night when the margin of victory flattered Jose Mourinho’s side.
The United manager criticised his players’ first-half approach as Les Verts scared the hosts on several occasions last Thursday – something Galtier is confident his side can do again.
The odds on St Etienne overturning the 3-0 loss and progressing from Wednesday’s second leg are as long as 40-1, yet their manager has not given up hope.
“There is no need for hyper motivation,” Galtier told reporters.
“We have a huge but not insurmountable handicap. We will play in another big atmosphere. The stadium will be full. Besides, it’s been nearly full since December.
“We must respect our public. It is impossible for us not to put out the best team possible for as long as there remains hope of qualification. In a game, anything can happen.”
Galtier expects his team to win on Wednesday, admitting his players had been surprised by the chances they were afforded so early at Old Trafford.
The St Etienne coach’s job is to “keep their heads cold and not be excitable” against a side with “very few weaknesses”.
Their chances are likely to be aided, though, by United alterations for the match with Sunday’s EFL Cup final against Southampton in mind.
Ibrahimovic, so often the scourge of St Etienne, could well be key among those rested in France, having netted 17 goals in 14 matches against them.
“We managed to keep him quiet at Old Trafford,” Galtier said. “He only scored with a free-kick and a penalty. He benefited from favourable circumstances.
“It’s certain that he likes the matches against us.
“If we had to consider an anti-Ibrahimovic plan, we could also imagine an anti-Pogba plan. But with Manchester, the danger comes from everywhere.”