Odion Ighalo is set for his full Manchester United debut while Juan Mata and Victor Lindelof will return for the Europa League Last 32 first leg tie against Club Brugge.
Manchester United will hope to make a massive stride towards the next stage of the UEFA Europa League when they lock horns with Club Brugge at the Jan Breydel Stadium in the Round of 32 first leg on Thursday. And, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has greeted a mixture of good and bad news ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Victor Lindelof has recovered from the illness that kept him out of Manchester United’s Premier League game against Chelsea. The Swede has traveled with the squad to Bruges and should be fit enough to take on Club Brugge on Thursday.
During his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer did hint that Lindelof is in line to return to the starting lineup. The Manchester United manager also alluded towards the fact that he could make some rotations on Thursday, with Odion Ighalo likely to make his full debut.
“I’m not going to tell the team today. But we’re going to have to rotate with all the games we’ve got coming up and yeah, he [Ighalo] is one of them that could start. We’ve not 100 per cent decided yet.”
Lindelof will likely return to the heart of the Manchester United defence, coming in for Eric Bailly, who has only just made his comeback from injury. Lindelof will be captain Harry Maguire’s central defensive partner against Club Brugge.
Changes are in the offing in the full-back slots as well, with Diogo Dalot and Brandon Williams expected to take up the two spots, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw get a breather. Sergio Romero should take his place in goal, as is customary for Europa League fixtures.
Meanwhile, Scott McTominay, who has recently been back in training, is not a part of the travelling squad. Solskjaer should still make one shuffle in midfield, with Nemanja Matic getting a rest. In his stead, Andreas Pereira is likely to start in the double pivot, providing company to the in-form Fred.
Another player who has not traveled to Bruges is Mason Greenwood. While Solskjaer did not reveal the reason for his absence, it is likely that Greenwood would have started on the right side of the Manchester United attack, had he been available. In his absence, Juan Mata could get a rare start against Brugge.
Bruno Fernandes has started each of the two games since joining Manchester United last month, but is unlikely to be rested. Fernandes will reprise the no. 10 role, with Mata starting on the right. As Solskjaer hinted in his presser, Ighalo could make his full debut, meaning Anthony Martial could move out to the left flank, with Ighalo leading the line against Brugge.
Manchester United Predicted XI: Romero; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Fred, Pereira; Mata, Fernandes, Martial; Ighalo