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Pique out to kill off Reds' Euro dreams

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Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique

PA

Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique is delighted to see ex-Manchester United team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer flourishing at Old Trafford - but the Barcelona defender is determined to kill off his former club's Champions League dreams tonight.

Widely considered to be one of the greatest defenders in the world, the 31-year-old made his first steps in the professional game in the north west over a period that he remains eternally grateful for.

Pique joined from Barca aged 17 and went from a boy to a man at United, learning a lot on the field and off it before returning to the LaLiga giants in 2008.

Solskjaer was one of the senior pros as the centre-back came through the ranks and the Barca defender has been impressed by the work being done by someone he looked up to.

"I remember him as a great team-mate when I arrived here," Pique said.

"I was 17, very young and he was one of the veterans and, for sure, he helped me a lot to adapt to the club, to the country, to the city.

"It was a great experience playing alongside him. He helped me a lot and I'm very happy to see him in now charge of the club, of Manchester United. He is doing a great job since he took charge of the team.

"They have won a lot of games, they are playing much better and tomorrow is going to be a tough game and I hope we can win." United, however, have made a lasting impression on Pique.

"It's something lovely because the fans are fantastic," the defender said ahead of stepping out at Old Trafford for the first time since leaving in 2008.

"It's the same if it's Champions League or a league game or playing against a fourth division side - the fans are always cheering if you lose or you win.

"It's a different culture," he added.