MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert — Manchester United will entertain Celta Vigo in the second leg of their Europa League semifinal at Old Trafford on Thursday. Manchester United v Celta de Vigo
Manchester United will take a 1-0 advantage into the second leg and Jose Mourinho is hoping to take another step towards qualifying for the Champions League next season.
After resting a few of his regular starters in the English Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, Mourinho will assemble his best possible starting XI against Celta Vigo at home.
Set to return to the starting lineup are the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly, while Mourinho must also decide on whether to start David de Gea or Sergio Romero.
De Gea is the No. 1 choice among the pundits, but Romero has been the regular pick in this tournament and has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the Europa League this season with seven total.
Meanwhile, after failing to take advantage of home advantage in the first leg, Celta Vigo will aim to score first at Old Trafford.
The Spanish side has scored in all six of their matches on the road so far in the Europa League campaign this season, according to Opta Stats and facts, while three of their last four such fixtures have ended in 0-2 wins.
However, Opta Stats and facts also revealed that Celta Vigo have lost their last four European matches against English clubs.
The last time the Spanish outfit won against an English side in European competition was against Aston Villa in 2000.
In the meantime, Mourinho has made it no secret that winning the Europa League is Manchester United’s best chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Adding that this is the team’s “most important match of their history.”
“I think in terms of motivation, we are even,” Mourinho said. “For Celta it is, in their words, the most important match of their history.
“And my feelings, it’s also the most important match of our history.
“It doesn’t matter what happened before, it doesn’t matter how big matches we played before.
“What matters is the next one and the next one is (on Thursday), so I don’t believe Celta dreams more than us, that Celta wants more than us.
“I really don’t believe so in this aspect I don’t think there will be a difference between both teams.”