Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reacted to his side drawing Italian giants AC Milan in the Europa League’s last 16.
After recently easing past Real Sociedad in the competition’s first-round knockout 4-0 on aggregate, Solskjaer, who is celebrating his 48th birthday today, watched on as his side were drawn against AC Milan in the next round.
With many connections between the two sides, it was almost inevitable the two European giants would collide at some point.
Old Trafford legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be welcomed back to his old stomping ground and on-loan defender Diogo Dalot is also set for an early reunion.
The competition’s draw, which took place on Friday afternoon, saw the Red Devils drawn first which means the first leg will be played at Old Trafford.
Reacting to the news his side will need to beat one of this season’s standout teams if they’re to progress further in the illustrious competition, Solskjaer, as quoted by MEN, said: “It’s a nice birthday gift, isn’t it? To watch that draw! We do have the tradition of making it hard for ourselves in draws.
“It’s one of those draws again that you feel could be a Champions League game. It’s good for us to have these games to look forward to. This team needs challenges and we enjoy challenges and we embrace them.
“The tradition and history of AC Milan, it’s a great club that we welcome and it’s a great stadium that we go to there, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Going onto address the ‘Zlatan factor’ of the up and coming tie, the Norweigan said: “Zlatan, of course, I’ve been so impressed, I’ve got to say, by how his career has gone. He had a career-threatening injury when he was here but came back from that and went to [the] MLS, then came back to Milan and has really lifted them. They’re on the up and have done really well this season.
“I’ve been so impressed by him, and Diogo we know. He went there to get some experience at a big club and he’s learned a lot. ‘He’s played a lot more games this season, kept fit and, hopefully, we can give him some bother!”
Both legs of the last 16 knockout tie will be played on March 11 and March 18 and will be broadcast live on BT Sport.