Manchester United will travel to Celta de Vigo to play the first leg of their Europa semi-final tie after a 1-1 draw against Swansea City in the league
Ahead of this game, the biggest pressure on Manchester United will perhaps be to ensure that they don’t end the match in a draw yet again. Jose Mourinho has made significant improvements ever since he took over, and they’ve won two trophies – the League Cup and the Community Shield. However, they really need to maintain consistency throughout the matches to ensure minimal draws.
United are still fighting for a top-four finish, but their last game against Swansea City laid bare their poor record at home this season. While securing a Champions League spot might be a bit of a challenge, the Red Devils can certainly look to make their Europa League bid stronger.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Jose Mourinho mentioned that he hopes to play both Paul Pogba and Maraouane Fellaini in the game against Celta de Vigo.
“They give everything, the spirit is amazing and the group is phenomenal. Fellaini and Pogba will be back for that game so there are a little bit more in terms of options so we will give everything we have,” said Mourinho.
“If we beat Celta, we have the final and, in this moment, it is obviously hypothetical,” he added. “The Europa League final is on the Wednesday and we play against Crystal Palace on Sunday. Before that, we play Southampton away a few days before, so we would be playing the final with disastrous consequences,” the manager admitted.
As far as team news goes, Manchester United’s centre-backs Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who have been absent for a while now, took part in the training session – as did Eric Bailly, despite showing signs of an injury during the 1-1 draw with Swansea City on Sunday.
Paul Pogba was also present and is likely to return on Thursday, as predicted by Mourinho. Pogba missed the last two games after picking up an injury during United’s win at Burnley, and it will be a boost for the attack, if he does play since Ibrahimovic is out.
Marouane Fellaini will also be available since his ban applies only to domestic matches.
Meanwhile, Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo’s winger, has 24 goals this season in 44 appearances – making it quite a good record. Several of their first-team players did not play in their 3-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao last weekend, in the hope that they can play a rejuvenated side against Manchester United.