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How to repeat PSG miracle? FIVE changes Man Utd must make to beat Barcelona

  /  autty

'This is what we do' proclaimed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Manchester United's dramatic victory over Paris Saint-Germain, secured of course by that last-gasp Marcus Rashford penalty.

And of course he was right. The late drama in a crunch European tie was vintage United, born from that insatiable ability to keep fighting, keep pushing until the last minute.

But deep down Solskjaer will know there are tweaks to be made from that 3-1 victory at the Parc des Princes , that he cannot afford to sail so close to the wind as the Red Devils did that night. Especially against a Barcelona side whose formidable home record in the Champions League (won 23 and drawn two of their last 25) makes Tuesday night appear a hugely tall order.

But the PSG win can prove a lesson for Solskjaer to learn from in the Nou Camp.

These are the changes he can make from that night to pull off another miracle…

Encourage Pogba to lead the midfield

Simplistic as it may sound, Pogba's presence in the Manchester United midfield will make a difference - providing we see the world class Pogba who can influence games against all calibre of opposition.

Pogba was of course among the 10 unavailable players for the PSG game and it made victory all the more incredible given that the Frenchman had been pivotal in United's hitherto revival under Solskjaer.

The Norweigan has tended to use Pogba in his favourite position left of a midfield three and he'll surely play there again, an area of the pitch which United — understandably — failed to control in the first leg against Barcelona or indeed against PSG.

United had just 28 per cent possession in Paris, 34 per cent in the home leg against Barca and that figure could be lower still on Tuesday night.

Pogba's job, therefore, is to transition defence to attack with his passing and look to expose the wearying legs of Sergio Busquets.

His leadership skills will also be vital to help the comparatively inexperienced Scott McTominay and Fred contain the midfield.

Solskjaer approached PSG with a 'can do' approach and Pogba's head certainly seems to be in the right place this time, after he issued a bullish rallying cry to his teammates before kick off: “We believe we can beat them,” he said - and United will need that confidence.

Make more of the flanks

Solskjaer hasn't necessarily been a 4-3-3 man in his time as United boss, often preferring a front two instead.

But you worry about the midfield being completely overrun if he repeats the 4-4-2 that played in Paris in Barcelona's backyard, or even if he implements the diamond that has been seen from time to time.

It may mean that Rashford plays in an unfavoured role, but United will need genuine wide players that work back and forth if they're to compete in the Nou Camp. Much of their attacking came through the middle against PSG and that might not bear fruit this time.

Right wing isn't an obvious selection - which has been the case for some time. Jesse Lingard didn't make a strong case with a poor display against West Ham at the weekend, Juan Mata surely won't start and Diogo Dalot will most likely be needed in the back four, with Luke Shaw suspended.

Whoever plays there will have to take the game to Barcelona on the break, while keeping Jordi Alba in check as he marauds forward from left-back.

Forget the kids for now - apart from McTominay

How United fans loved it when Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood were ushered off the bench against PSG — and coped more than admirably given the circumstances.

That win will live long in the memory of those young players, with Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay also playing vital roles and Angel Gomes and James Garner unused substitutes.

The 22-man squad picked by Solskjaer for the Barcelona trip suggested that playing the kids — apart from the in-form McTominay — is not in his thoughts this time. There was no Greenwood in the travelling party, none of the other youngsters.

The more wily Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez may well be called upon to play some part, both having key experience of big European ties.

For Solskjaer and United, overturning that 1-0 deficit to Barcelona is an entirely different task to the Paris Saint-Germain game. They'll just hope the outcome is the same.

Be unafraid of possession statistics

One of the unfortunate consequences of Pep Guardiola's revolutionary spell in charge at Barcelona has been that many people now automatically equate having possession to playing well.

Barcelona are one of the few teams that can retain the ball as well as play beautiful football, but Manchester United can't allow themselves to be intimidated by this on Tuesday evening.

In the first leg, you got the sense that Solskjaer's charges were caught in two minds over whether or not to respect the fact they were the home side and to try to match the Catalan club.

United shouldn't bother trying to keep possession in unnecessary areas at the Camp Nou, it won't matter a jot if they win 1-0 and go through on penalties after having 21 percent possession.

You simply aren't going to keep the ball away from the Spanish champions, as they're too good in possession, and it wouldn't be wise for United to try.

Take their chances

Profligacy has been the name of the game for the Manchester club in recent weeks.

They could have scored four or five against Arsenal, but lost, and they could have done the same in the Premier League trip to Wolverhampton, but they lost once again.

Manchester United have been far more creative since Mourinho's departure, and the football has been a staggering improvement in aesthetic terms.

However, not being able to take their chances has plagued the team of late.

You won't get many chances against Valverde's team, as was proven in the first leg.

When that moment comes, United cannot afford to squander it.

If they're to have any chance of progressing to a first semi-final since 2011, they need to be as clinical as Chelsea were at the same venue in 2012.