FC Copenhagen manager Stale Solbakken offered his players his bonus if they manage to surprise the odds and beat Manchester United in the Europa League.
The Danish side’s 3-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir last week set up a quarter final clash with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Premier League side.
United are the favourites for the whole tournament, ahead of Antonio Conte’s Inter and perennial Europa League winners Sevilla, so it was always going to be a tough task for Copenhagen.
To give the team an added incentive Solbakken offered his players the chance to win his bonus, if they can knock the English side out of the competition.
Ahead of the game in Koln the manager wasn’t sounding too optimistic that he’d be handing over his bonus, saying, “In order to do that [win] we have to play perfect.
“We need a bit of luck. We maybe need a United that doesn’t fire on all cylinders.
“We need to be perfect defensively. We need to take that one or two or three chances we get during a game like this.
“The chances are not great but it’s an advantage for us that it’s over 90 minutes and not 180 minutes.
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“We have a good feeling. After the season, we managed to get a week break and when the players returned from that we have managed to get a couple of players able to play who have been vital to us before.
“We have a good feeling after the 3-0 victory (against Istanbul Basaksehir) but you shouldn’t put your house on us tomorrow. But we will give everything.”
Solbakken was actually in charge of Copenhagen when they beat United in a Champions League Group Stage game 14 years ago.
Funnily enough, his opposite number on Monday night, Solskjaer, actually played in the game in Denmark.
The two men know each other from their time with the Norwegian national team in their playing days, and Solskjaer shadowed his compatriot at Copenhagen.
Asked who the better manager was Solbakken said, “I don’t know who is the best but I know that he is now in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“At this moment in time it is difficult to compare us. As a Norwegian we should – even me as a Liverpool fan – be proud that we have a manager in one of the biggest clubs in the world and that he has been able to steady the ship and been able to put his authority into the club.”