The first set of games are done. Not long now…
Luke Shaw on BT Sport:
When people doubt you so much, mentally it makes me stronger and it makes me want it more. I just gotta keep on working hard and not just myself, but on the team too.
“If he wants to be, I believe he can be one of the best left backs in Europe,” says Paul Scholes. Thoughts?
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer just fronted up for the BT Sport cameras:
On Martial: Muscle injury, I think. Let’s give him the days he needs. I hope for the weekend but I’m not sure.
On the importance of this game: It’s very important that we keep on winning games, get a momentum. These are the only team that has scored against us in the last 6 games. A quick team, counter attacking team, so we have to be focused.
The latter quote was a response to whether this is a “season-defining game” for his team. A bit of a dramatic question there, but it is a huge opportunity to build some momentum.
Solskjaer confirms that Martial is out after picking up an injury in training yesterday. Given how well he Martial performing right now, the boss be desperate for a quick return.
Man United: Romero, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, James, Fernandes, Mata, Ighalo.
Subs: de Gea, Lindelof, Williams, Lingard, Matic, Chong, Greenwood
Club Brugge: Mignolet, Mata, Mechele, Deli, Ricca, Kossounou, Rits, De Cuyper, Tau, Okereke, Vanaken.
Subs: Horvath, Mitrovic, Sobol, Diatta, De Ketelaere, Krmencik, Schrijvers
Life has not been the same since noted philosopher Andreas Pereira’s glorious words of wisdom ahead of the first leg:
I am trying to get back to scoring goals in my game. Goals are like ketchup, if you score one, more will come.
Some ominous statistics for Club Brugge today:
- Manchester United have won all games against Belgian clubs at home, including a 3-1 win over Club Brugge in the 2015 Champions League play-offs and 5 wins over Anderlecht.
- Manchester United are unbeaten at home in the Europa League since 2012 with 2 draws and 10 wins.
- Club Brugge have never beaten an English team away from home, with 2 draws and 10 losses in previous encounters.
Here is Club Brugge manager Philippe Clement on tonight’s game, speaking in yesterday’s press conference:
“It will be a bigger challenge than we thought due to the absence of [Ruud] Vormer, [Eder] Balanta and [Emmanuel] Dennis… For the first game I said that we needed a miracle to qualify for the next round. Now we need more than that. We are here with a young team with less experience, but this will be instructive. My team will be able to gain experience… It will be different circumstances in the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. But let’s dream. We are going to give everything. ”
Hello! Welcome to our coverage of tonight’s decisive Europa League clash between Manchester United and Club Brugge at Old Trafford. Last week in Bruges, both teams left fairly satisfied with a 1-1 draw that could have been snatched by either team. While Club Brugge punched above their weight, created ample chances and played an excellent game, United started horrendously and an average performance was salvaged by two players in particular: Anthony Martial single-handedly dragged his team into the game with a moment of tenacity and skill to score the equaliser, and then the night ended with a startling cameo from new kid Bruno Fernandes who offered a potential preview of what is to come.
Both players flowed into this weekend’s excellent 3-0 win over Watford, with Fernandes scoring his first goal for United after winning the penalty, before Martial produced an absurd piece of skill to delicately chip home his third goal in three games. United have clearly shown some good football over the past 10 days and the challenge now is to turn a couple of solid performances into a good run of games. So far this season, inconsistency has defined them.
Tonight seems to present a good opportunity for United to lay down a marker and move deeper into the Europa League. Club Brugge nabbed a 1-0 win over Charleroi on the weekend to retain their 9 point lead in the Belgian Pro League but they will be without two of their most important players when they arrive in Manchester. The best player on the pitch last week was Emmanuel Dennis, who ran Harry Maguire ragged for 90 minutes and scored Brugge’s goal with a lovely chip. He will play no part tonight after being ruled out by injury. The club’s talisman Ruud Vormer, responsible for 14 assists in the Belgian Pro League so far, is also out.