Solskjaer Discusses Advantage United May Have in EFL Cup Clash

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On paper, Wednesday night shapes up really well for Manchester City and very poorly for Manchester United. It’s a Manchester Derby EFL Cup semi-final, and given that a.) City have utterly dominated this tournament lately and b.) United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seem to have some semifinal voodoo to overcome, it’s only natural to think that the Citizens will be moving on to the final.

However, this why the stage the matches, they’re played in real life, not on paper, and Solskjaer sees a potential advantage to for his side- added rest.

Manchester Derby EFL Cup Semifinal FYIs

Kickoff: Wed. Jan. 6 8pm

United Team News, Starting XI Prediction: go here

City Team News, Starting XI Prediction: go here

Other EFL Cup Semifinal Team News, Starting XI Prediction: go here

Important Note: this is not a two-legged tie this season, it’s just a one-off

Key Stat: City have won the last three League Cup titles, four of the last five and five of the last seven

manchester derby

“We’ve had four days now after Villa so hopefully we’ve got more fresh legs,” Solskjaer said to his press conference on Tuesday.

“It’s a difficult season but we’ll benefit from the rotations we’ve made. That’s going to be important with having fresh legs.

“With City against Chelsea, the freshness and sharpness and intensity they had, It was no surprise there because they had a few extra days to prepare.”

United have had an extra day to prepare for the cup clash, having beaten Aston Villa on Saturday, while City thrashed Chelsea on Sunday. Additionally, we’ve seen the meaning now behind Solskjaer’s squad rotations, and how it’s truly paid off for him and his side.

No team got through the festive period fixture congestion quite like United did. They were the biggest winners of the festive fixtures part of the calendar, as they ascended right up to the top of the table. Level on points with Liverpool, with a game currently in hand, they’ll have first place all to themselves, should they be able to beat Burnley in one week’s time.

The Norwegian will no doubt field a strong side for this cup clash too though.

“When you get to a semi you’ve done a lot of good work to get there,” Solskjaer said.

“We’ve improved immensely in a year since the last semi when we were in Europe in August. For me, it’s a step closer to get to the final and we’ve developed a lot.

“You play football to win trophies, to get your hands on a trophy even though when you win you move onto the next one.

“It gives you hunger to win more. The squad is focused, ready to give it a go and we’ve prepared well for this game.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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