Manchester United vs FC Copenhagen | Europa League Quarter Final | RheinEnergieStadion | KO: 20:00
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United are three wins away from winning a major European trophy, having already secured a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
If you’d have said those words at the turn of the year, you’d have been called insane, to say the least.
However, following an incredible run of form, consisting of just one loss in 23 matches, United face FC Copenhagen in the quarter final of the Europa League in Germany, knowing a win in this match will take The Reds to their third semi-final of the season.
In what is being described as a ‘festival of football’ over the next couple of weeks, United will be desperate to stay in Germany as long as possible and win the Europa League for a second time.
How do Manchester United look?
Last time out, against LASK, Solskjaer fielded an unfamiliar line-up, giving chances to fringe players who haven’t seen much game time as of late. United entered that match 5-0 to the good, so the boss could risk a slightly weakened lineup against the Austrian side.
This, however, isn’t expected to be the case on Monday night.
The only confirmed absentees are once again Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw, who will all miss the remainder of the tournament through injury and will not play any further part this season.
Portuguese fullback Diogo Dalot trained alone on Sunday evening, suggesting that he is not quite back to full fitness following his injury, so is expected to miss out.Embed from Getty Images
Paul Pogba has impressed following his post-lockdown return from injury, and with rumours swirling that the Frenchman is set to sign a new contract, Solskjaer said “we’re delighted he’s back playing, he’s fit, he’s enjoying his football, he’s got to make up for lost time and he’s doing that. He’s training extra, always a great personality around the place”. A stark contrast to the “virus” claims made by Jose Mourinho about the midfielder.
The boss continued to heap praise on his players, this time Anthony Martial. He said “Antho has made huge strides this season in many aspects of his game. I like him scoring the simple goals. I know he can do the ‘worldies’. He’s in gym and he’s working on his strength. He’s physically at his best level of his career. There is more to come definitely.”
Solskjaer gave very little away with regards to his starting eleven, but it is expected he will field his strongest possible side, with aspirations of winning the Europa League not too far from being realised.
Opposition: FC CopenhagenEmbed from Getty Images
Coached by Solskjaer’s former Norway teammate Ståle Solbakken, Danish runners up FC Copenhagen knocked out Istanbul Basaksehir 3-1 on aggregate in the last round of the tournament, having been 1-0 down following the first leg.
Their top scorer this season is Dame N’Doye with eleven goals in all competitions, a far cry from the attacking strength United possess, with Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all passing that number some time ago.
Winger Viktor Fischer, a once highly rated young Danish winger, may pose United some threat with his fast feet and trickery, but nothing full-backs Aaron Wan Bissaka and Brandon Williams shouldn’t be able to deal with.
Key StatsEmbed from Getty Images
Teden Mengi’s introduction against LASK means that Manchester United have handed eight academy graduates their first team debuts this season, matching the record set by Sir Matt Busby 67 years ago, showing the trust and belief that Ole has in the young players at Old Trafford.
Manchester United 3-0 FC Copenhagen. Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.