Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says winning the Carabao Cup would be a “very, very big step” for Manchester United as his side look to make it fourth time lucky in Wednesday’s semi-final against Manchester City.
United lost to Pep Guardiola’s men in the final four of the competition last season, before going onto lose in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Europa League.
Solskjaer said: “The next game is always important but of course a semi-final is a chance to get to the final, to get your hands on a trophy in the next round and for this team it would be a very, very big step getting your hands on a trophy.
“We’ve developed a lot in the last six months, last 12 months since the last semi in the Carabao Cup. So of course 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 are confident, we are going into the game with good form so there’s no excuses.”
Solskjaer won medals aplenty during his playing days at Old Trafford. However, he has yet to pick up silverware since taking over as manager in December 2018.
“Of course, you play football to win,” the United boss said.
“You play football to win trophies, to get your hands on a trophy – even though when you win that trophy you move on to the next one.
“But it gives you hunger to get more. So of course the squad is focused, we’re ready to give it a go. I think we’ve prepared well for this game.”
United will be only be without suspended striker Edinson Cavani and injured defender Phil Jones against City.
United now a match for City
Solskjaer also feels his side have made massive progress in the way they stack up against City now.
He added: “We’ve seen progress, sometimes the results don’t show the whole picture of the game. Some of our counter-attacking goals and in the wins we’ve had have been brilliant, away in the league when we won we could have scored four or five in a 10 or 15 min period, a few of the counter-attacks were out of this world, but had less control of the ball.
“The last game was more or 50-50, cagey game from both teams. But I felt that was a progression having stayed more in the game.”
“You never know what kind of system he’s [Pep Guardiola] gonna come up with but you’ve got to defend really well against Man City.
‘It’s hard to keep the ball in their half. Gotta be brave compact, trust your players, play out of their press. They’re one of the quickest ones to put the counter pressure on.
“We’ve found that balance, didn’t have X factor last game, maybe because they were set up to counter-attack as well. Been some fascinating games and feel we’ve got closer and closer and results you can’t control.”