After a frustrating draw against Arsenal on Saturday, Manchester United will be hoping to respond positively when they face Dutch side Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
The biggest news from the Manchester United camp ahead of their penultimate match in the Europa League groups stage revolves around Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The former Borussia Dortmund player has been used sparingly by manager Jose Mourinho this season. However, the Portuguese manager confirmed that the 27-year-old would be involved in the game on Thursday night.
“Yes. I told him today [Saturday] that he is going to be involved in the game against Feyenoord,” said Mourinho ahead of the game, according to the official club website.
“He is trying. Obviously he is not happy but he is transforming his frustration in a good way, which is to close the mouth, work hard and try to adapt.
“I told him ‘this was not the game for you’ because I don’t think he needs 10 or 20 minutes from the bench. I said ‘I think you need a good game and you need to either start or, if not, to come for the second half’. He needs less pressure and better conditions for him to express his qualities.”
Mkhitaryan will likely play on the right wing and not in his preferred number 10 position, as Spaniard Juan Mata has made himself indispensable in that role. The young duo of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford could start on the left wing and up front respectively.
35-year-old Michael Carrick is likely to be rested by Mourinho, which would indicate a central midfield pairing of Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba. The main problem for United is in defence, where they have centre-halves Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly out with injury.
The return to fitness of injury prone Phil Jones has been a bonus for United. The Englishman is set to start alongside either Daley Blind or Marcos Rojo in central defence, flanked by Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian. The United goal will be protected ably, as ever, by Spaniard David de Gea.