It was not pretty or glamorous. It took an own goal and a deflection, but United have six points after two games and now it is time to shift focus to the Champions League Qualifer against Club Brugge.
One might see it as a timely distraction – get a few goals and that free flowing football back, but Van Gaal and his staff refer to it as the most important game of their reign so far. It is easy to see why – £10 million could be earned if we are to qualify for the Group Stage. The team worked hard last season to ensure that qualification is possible and no one would want to risk the return to the Champions League by treating the fixture lightly.
Club Brugge did well last season in the Europa League competition by reaching the Quarter Finals and narrowly losing to eventual runner-ups Dnipro. The visitors, like United, sit third in their domestic league after a steady start to the season, and impressively saw off Panathinaikos earlier this month to set up this crucial clash.
Maroune Fellaini may be returning, as his suspension applies only to the Premier League. Jonny Evans is doubtful with a knock and Phil Jones is out with a thrombosis.
Brugge’s injury problems are so severe that their medical staff outlined in a recently published article that up to 10 players might have problems.
The two biggest losses for Brugge are perhaps Israeli attacking midfielder Lior Refaelov, who weighed in with 18 goals last season, and Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo. The latter finished as their top scorer in the league with 13 goals.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) Romero- Darmian,Smalling,Blind,Shaw- Schneiderlin ,Schweinsteiger-Januzaj,Herrera,Young-Rooney
Club Brugge (4-3-3 )Bruzzese– De Fauw,Mechele,Duarte,De Bock- Vormer ,Simons Vanaken- Diaby,Vazquez, De Sutter
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