Manchester United get ready to take another bow in the Europa League after failing to finish in the top four last season after being narrowly pipped to the last Champions League spot by arch-rivals Manchester City. After an enterprising start to the season, the Red Devils faced their first setback against the same opponents who denied them a topmost European berth. Although Jose Mourinho has in the past discussed his unfavourable views on the competition, it is something he has to negotiate this season.
The game on Thursday provides an opportunity for the squad members to show they have the required criteria to challenge for a first-team place. The players who had looked undroppable, look vulnerable to an extent now and this will be the best opportunity for the likes of Smalling, Herrera and Rojo to keep themselves in and around the manager’s field of thought.
But they will be wary of a Feyenoord side who have started the season on a very bright note with wins in all of their opening 5 fixtures. They are leading the league table with 15 points, two points ahead of second-place PSV Eindhoven. They have averaged 3 goals per game over the run of matches and have conceded just twice.
- Manchester United have won both of their encounters against Feyenoord so far.
- Manchester United’s famous European Cup Winners’ Cup glory over Barcelona in 1991 came at Feyenoord’s home ground ‘De Kuip’.
Luke Shaw will be absent from the squad due to a slight thigh injury and will get a well-deserved rest after a hectic start to the season. Phil Jones is also absent after suffering lateral knee ligament damage while Rooney has been rested.
They have no fresh injury concerns and will be playing fearlessly try to shock the formidable Manchester United team.
T40’s PREDICTED LINE-UPS
De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Bailly, Rojo; Carrick, Herrera; Martial, Mkhitaryan, Depay; Rashford
Jones; Karsdorp, Kongolo, Botteghin, Woudenberg; Vilhena, Kuyt, Ahmedi; Toornstra, Jorgensen, Berghius
Manchester United’s ‘next’ superstar already seems to be a star in his own rights. More often than not he has looked the most lively and effective on the pitch and will be looking to impress the manager in his first start of the season. With a host of big names expected to be missing, he will be eager to step up.
The veteran has been their key man for a long time and things will be no different today. Expected to play a pivotal role in their endeavours up front, Kuyt has to be on song for Feyenoord to be able to nick something from this daunting game.
Although Manchester United have tended to struggle at times with the motivation being somewhat low, the set-up of the squad will ensure that the players coming in will be motivated and eager to showcase their skills.