'Lucky' Manchester United must improve for Barcelona, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Idrissa Gueye

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Third place would guarantee United qualification for the Champions League - which by Solskjaer's calculation would mean beating at least one out of second-placed Manchester City and Chelsea, who they host in consecutive games at Old Trafford this month.

Paul Pogba stepped up to score United's second penalty of the game and Solskjaer admitted his side were lucky to secure all three points. After that, it was not a penalty off Robert - but it was a hard decision.

He added: "We also made a mistake for that goal and I'm not complaining that we lost because of the referee".

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini arrives for the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London.

Since their Parc des Princes victory, their only two wins have come with under-par showings; against Watford late last month and West Ham on Saturday, a odd game in a muted atmosphere that suggested even the fans were saving themselves for Barcelona.

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"We were lucky it wasn't Barcelona today", said Solskjaer. "And, unfortunately, that's come at a time where, as you say, there are contract talks but that's ongoing, so I can't really comment too much on how far they have come down the line and what he's deciding".

It shouldn't be forgotten, though, that United have already overturned a first-leg deficit on the road in this year's competition, defeating Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 after losing at Old Trafford. "It was not possible to see, but with VAR we win this game". "We got a great boost, now [it's] more challenging times with the results and performances. We've been practicing out here and, as a striker, I know how important that little bit of belief and trust in yourself is".

West Ham could recall Michail Antonio to the squad after he recovered from an ankle knock but Samir Nasri remains out with a calf injury so he is on the sidelines along with Andy Carroll, Andriy Yarmolenko, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, and Winston Reid.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has sent his players an inspiring message ahead of the clash against Barcelona.

"Fifa stands together with Prince Gouano, Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, as well as any other player, coach, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism, whether at the highest professional level or in a school playground".

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