Manchester United versus PSG in the Champions League this week is of course receiving a lot of coverage in the French media.
PSG have an obsession to win the tournament and their failure to progress to the final stages of the competition has proven to be a shadow hanging over all their domestic success of recent years.
As part of the build up, L’Equipe have spoken to Ashley Young, and one of the questions which stood out was exactly how big Manchester United are.
L’Equipe said to Young: “You describe MU as “the biggest club in the world”. We can say for example that Real Madrid is richer or Liverpool…”
At that point he cut them short, clearly not wanting to hear about Liverpool’s five European Cup/Champions League trophies, laughed, and is quoted as saying: “Pay attention to what you’re saying… There are other criteria to consider. For example, the popularity of Manchester United is just crazy. Whenever we do preseason tours, whether in Asia or the United States, all the training sessions open to the public are crowded and there are fans around our hotel, at any time of the day or night. And it’s the same when I go on holiday: wherever you go around the world, you will find a United fan.”
The French newspaper said to Young that they can’t imagine Ole Gunnar Solskjaer using the ‘hairdryer treatment’ in the way Sir Alex Ferguson did.
Young quickly put them right, giving an insinuation that the resurgence at Old Trafford isn’t just about smiles and arms arounds shoulders: “Ah well, it shows that you do not go to our dressing! Because I can tell you that we were treated recently to some “hair-dryer treatments”… When Ole Gunnar arrived, in a way, I almost felt like Sir Alex was back. Because he was accompanied by Mike Phelan and Michael Carrick. But also because Ole Gunnar knows exactly what it means to play for this club. He is obsessed with both victory and the fact that his players flourish on the pitch, like Sir Alex.”
The matches against PSG present a new challenge for Manchester United and their interim manager.