Red Devils boss believes being paired with La Liga leaders is akin to a draw his team could have received in the Champions League
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been enjoying the opportunity to face La Liga leaders Real Sociedad in the Europa League for the past 32 years.
Solskjaer’s side fell 3-2 against RB Leipzig last week in the Champions League group stage final, handing them over to the Europa League.
Their draw for the last 32 is difficult as the Red Devils will face Sociedad, who currently lead La Liga after winning seven games and drawing five of their first 13 games.
Although disappointed by his side’s inability to reach the Champions League round of 16, Solskjaer believes United’s Europa League draw is a reminder of what they would have received in Europe’s top club competition.
“It looks like a Champions League draw and is definitely one that keeps everyone on their toes,” he told United’s official website.
“They are the team that is at the top of La Liga right now, ahead of teams like Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid. I have seen them a couple of times and they are an exciting team and it will be a test for us.
“We have some difficult games in that period. This is not the time when we can unplug and feel it’s an easy Europa League draw, it looks like a Champions League draw: I’m at the top of the Spanish league. We just have to stay focused. “
United will have a chance to face former player Adnan Januzaj in the Europa League draw, with the Belgian dropping out of United academy after signing at 16.
Januzaj signed with Sociedad in 2017 and has continued to establish himself as a starter with La Liga, scoring two goals in 13 total appearances this season.
Solskjaer will be wary of taking on Januzaj, a player he knows will enter the double draw with one point to prove.
“They work hard with high-intensity, high-quality players and of course they have our Adnan,” added Solskjaer. “They also have some experienced players and some emerging young players.
“Everyone who plays Man Utd wants to show what it could have been and Adnan has done well in his career.
“It’s always hard to see where you’ll go after Man Utd and he’s one of those guys you hope they would make it here. It wasn’t supposed to be like this now we’ll have to make sure he won’t enjoy his return!”