Wednesday 2 November 2016

Match preview: Fenerbahce v United

United travel to Istanbul for the fourth Group A fixture knowing that victory would all but secure a place in the knockout stages.

Victory in Turkey- coupled a Feyenoord failure to see off Zorya- will take us top of the group and open up a five point gap with two games left to play. 
The competition remains the only major honour missing from the club's glittering collection      (and the winners gain a Champions League place) and Jose admitted we're targeting the trophy.

He said:
"My opinion of the Europa League has changed because the rules have changed.
"The tournament winner has a direct spot to the Champions League so it has a different meaning for the big clubs in the last couple of years, it is another way to try and quality for the Champions League. 
"I think the Turkish league is improving all the time, other clubs are coming from outside Istanbul now and of course Fenerbahce are one of the strongest teams.
"They have very good players, an experienced manager and players with experience of the highest level and international competition."

We beat Dick Advocaat's side 4-1 at Old Trafford last month but the away tie looks a more difficult proposition with the infamous and intimidating atmosphere of the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

Fener are unbeaten in the league (a 1-0 loss to Bursaspor) and have won twice since their defeat in Manchester in their last European outing.
Former Red Robin van Persie scored in that game and found the net again at the weekend in a 5-0 win over Karabukspor.
They sit fifth in the SuperLig table and, like us, are eight points behind league leaders and city rivals Istanbul BB. 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has travelled with the squad with Phil Jones also included but Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Memphis Depay all miss out.
Bastian Schweinsteiger made a surprise return to first team training this week but he's ineligible for Europe so will not feature.

Anthony Martial could return having recovered from injury but Antonio Valencia has suffered a broken arm and will be out for "a while" so Matteo Darmian will continue at right-back. 

"We lost three defenders in a week, Antonio (Valencia), Chris (Smalling) and Bailly so we're in a difficult situation" 
"We don't have time to be in a better position so maybe I have to select Phil and play him" added the boss as he explained Jones' recall. 

Form guide: Fenerbahce W D D L W W United D D W L W D 
Match odds: Fenerbahce 15/8 Draw 23/10 United 5/4
Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)

Travelling United squad: De Gea, Romero, Johnstone, Blind, Jones, Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Shaw, Fellaini, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Mata, Pogba, Schneiderlin, Young, Ibrahimovic, Rooney, Martial, Rashford. 

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