OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has denied being disrespectful to Roma when Manchester United booked their date in the Europa League semi-finals.
Having got past Granada in the last eight the United boss was asked about facing the Serie A side next.
He said he 'didn’t know them and hadn’t seen them play', a quote that has been pinned up by Roma's ultras around the club’s training ground beneath a picture of Solskjaer to wind up their players.
But Solskjaer said: “Of course, that was straight after the game and with all the games we've had I was just relieved we'd gone through.
“But we have analysed them down to the ground since we drew them. We are ready for them.
“It was not meant as any disrespect, I think everyone knows that. I've got loads of respect for them.”
Indeed Solskjaer says that two of his most coveted keepsakes from his career came from swapping shirts with Roma legends Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi.
He said: “It's a fantastic club with a great history.
“I've actually got two prized possessions back home, a Totti shirt and a De Rossi shirt that I've swapped with them and they're actually signed, so I know about the history, I know about the quality.”
The Roma squad left for Manchester on Wednesday and thousands of fans turned up to provide a huge send-off.
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A number of players came out to applaud the Lupi faithful as they chanted and waved banners, before hopping in the bus for the airport.
The quality of the Europa League has obviously come into sharp focus this past fortnight after United’s owners tried to break away from it and the Champions League to be part of a European Super League.
Solskjaer denies that failed bid will in any way devalue United’s achievement this season if they do go on to win the trophy – which they last lifted under Jose Mourinho in 2017.
He said: “We have had a great night in this tournament before at the club and we know how much it means for a team and the whole club.
“Our focus now is to get to the final and make sure that the end of the season can finish with a celebration.
“As soon as we went out of the Champions League, our eyes and focus was on getting to this final.
“I've noticed with the players that these games have been very important for them and us.
“When you've got Real Sociedad and Granada, two Spanish LaLiga teams, good teams, when you've got AC Milan with their history and Roma with their history, we feel we've been in a proper competition.
“Now we're one step away from the big one. It will be a dream come true the day I lift a trophy for this club as manager.
“That's what we're building for. I know how much that can mean for a group moving forward.”
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