Manchester United v Feyenoord
MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Manchester United go into Thursday’s Europa League clash against Feyenoord needing a win at Old Trafford.
The English Premier League side was beaten when these two teams met in the previous round, which left them with six points from four games and third-place in the group standings.
Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho is expected to make changes to his side for the encounter with the Portuguese confirming summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan will feature in the clash.
Mkhitaryan has struggled to fit into Mourinho’s plans since his big-money from Borussia Dortmund in the summer – making just six competitive appearances in all competitions.
The Armenia international was only a spectator during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League, which again led to speculations about his future.
However, Mkhitaryan has dismissed reports he’s seeking a move away from Old Trafford in January and Mourinho added that he will play for Manchester United on Thursday.
“I told him [Saturday] that he is going to be involved in the game against Feyenoord,” Jose said on Man United’s official website.
“He is trying. Obviously, he is not happy but he is transforming his frustration in a good way, which is to close the mouth, work hard and try to adapt.”
Mourinho said that he didn’t think the 27-year-old forward was ready to face the Gunners over the weekend.
“I told him ‘this was not the game for you’ because I don’t think he needs 10 or 20 minutes from the bench,” the boss said.
“I said ‘I think you need a good game and you need to either start or, if not, to come for the second half’.
“He needs less pressure and better conditions for him to express his qualities.”
Besides Mkhitaryan, Mourinho could also hand left-back Luke Shaw a starting place in the all-important Group A clash.
Shaw has been sidelined with an injury, but his boss revealed that although he missed out against Arsenal, the England defender is fit to play.
Returning from suspension is striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed the 1-1 draw with Arsenal last weekend after accumulating five yellow cards.
Still missing though are centre-backs Eric Bailly (knee) and Chris Smalling (toe), while Manchester United is reporting midfielder Marouane Fellaini remains doubtful with a calf injury.
Daley Blind, who missed the Gunners clash and Wayne Rooney, who started on the bench, could both feature as well.
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Manchester United (squad): De Gea, Romero, Blind, Jones, Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Shaw, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Mata, Pogba, Schneiderlin, Young, Ibrahimovic, Depay, Martial, Valencia, Rashford, Rooney