Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag insists his team can halt Bayern Munich’s Champions League record 39-game run and salvage their European campaign on Tuesday night.
United must shake off their 3-0 home defeat by Bournemouth at the weekend and beat group winners Bayern to have any chance of reaching the competition’s knockout rounds.
That means upsetting the form book and ending the German giants’ long unbeaten sequence in the Champions League group stage, which spans seven seasons.
“We have to win to stay in Europe, so it’s all about that,” said Ten Hag.
“We will prepare the team with that feeling and with that belief that we are able to do it and I think we have shown in the last weeks when we are on our best then we can do it.”
A United win would not guarantee a place in the last 16 – that also requires a draw between Copenhagen and Galatasaray – but would deliver a Europa League place at the very least.
Ten Hag reiterated that his team’s form was too flaky to rely on but stressed that recent wins over Chelsea and Everton showed they were capable of rising to the occasion.
“We are not consistent. But we have also a very good performance and highs, so if we get it when we are in the right spirit, then we are able to beat any opponent,” he added.
“I know this team can perform really at high levels and it’s not that we did it three months ago. No, we did it last week, so I know we can do it.”
United have a long history of hosting famous European nights and Ten Hag is hopeful that raucous backing from the home fans will help them and intimidate Bayern.
“Old Trafford is not a nice place to come for an opponent, and we are aware of it. It starts with us but then, of course, you hope that the fans [and us] are together,” he said.
“As long as I’m here, I always have the feeling we are absolutely together. There’s a very strong bond between the team and fans. They’re always behind us, even when we have big setbacks.”