Manchester United’s Europa League campaign continues this coming Thursday, when the Red Devils travel to Belgium to take on Anderlecht. The game won’t be easy, particularly away from home, but it is all about just being in the tie when we bring them back to Old Trafford the week after.
Ahead of the game, Jose Mourinho has provided us fans with some very early team news. The self-proclaimed Special One has confirmed the brilliant news that Antonio Valencia should be back and ready to play.
The Ecuadorian has missed the last couple of games with what seems like a minor injury, but thankfully, he’ll be back soon which is huge. The way he buccaneers up and down that right-hand side is just supremely entertaining to watch, and we look so much more threatening when he gets the start.
“We played with the players available [against Sunderland],” he said whilst speaking to MUTV. “Not one single player stayed in Manchester because we were thinking about resting them, or because we were thinking about rotation or about Anderlecht. Not at all.”
“These are the players available at the moment and, when I look to the others, I just expect Valencia to be ready to play and no more, I don’t think. I don’t think any one of the other boys will be ready to play.”
The other player who could return to the squad, but not necessarily get the start is David de Gea. That’s because Sergio Romero has been our cup goalkeeper, and credit to the Argentine because he’s played excellently.
However, we all know just how outstanding of a goalkeeper that David de Gea is, and it’s obviously better that he’s ready and available in the case that Romero picks up an injury during the game.
“De Gea’s injury is not serious and Romero every time he plays he plays so well,” he added. “The fans are used to having Romero in goal in the competition [the Europa League] – that becomes the most important competition for us after winning the League Cup.
“The Europa League is the competition we can still win, so when Sergio plays in the Europa League and when we are giving him this confidence to play, it’s because we know that his answer is positive and today he looked like he was really comfortable.”
We’re very lucky that despite our pretty lengthy injury list, we still have a vast amount of players at Jose Mourinho’s disposal. Obviously, rotation is made harder, but our guys should be more than capable of being able to put in a credible performance on Thursday night.
As previously mentioned, this game will not be easy. Heck, any team in the quarter-finals of any professional competition have already proven their worth. Mourinho has to get the players mentally ready for this one, as to ensure they do not underestimate their opponents at all costs.