Wednesday 23 November 2016

Match preview: United v Feyenoord

United welcome Feyenoord to Old Trafford for the penultimate Europa League fixture and our last home match in Group A.

With the frustration of Saturday's late draw with Arsenal still lingering, this European tie is sandwiched between two league and cup matches with West Ham in three days. 

Jose hinted at a rotated Reds side and confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will make only his third United appearance in what looks set to be a much-changed team. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who confirmed an extension of his United contract beyond the summer,  could be recalled after a one-match ban but Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are still sidelined with injury. 

Luke Shaw could be in a line for a return but Marouane Fellaini is doubtful with a calf problem. 

In keeping with the inconsistent nature of United's season so far, our form in Europe has also wavered having slipped to disappointing defeats in this reverse fixture and in Istanbul last time out.

We beat Fenerbahce 4-1 and bottom side Zorya (who we meet on Matchday Six) at home and currently occupy third spot in Group A, although a win in this one would see us leapfrog the Dutch visitors and require a point from that trip to the Ukraine to qualify.

Fenerbahce top the group ahead of the Dutch side by virtue of a superior head-to-head record, host already-eliminated Zorya in the other Group A game. 

Gio van Bronckhorst's side hold a two point advantage over Ajax at the top of the Eredivisie but, having won 11 of their first 12 games, they arrive in Manchester in somewhat indifferent from, with only one win in five. 

Mourinho said that he was happy with the level of the team's performances, but that results must improve.

"The results are not good, especially compared with how the team are playing, we have deserved better.
"We need four points to qualify so there is no space for a defeat, perhaps when we played in Feyenoord in September we approached the game differently.
"I have said that this competition is a target for us to win so that is what are trying to do, we have to get through the group first and a win against Feyenoord would put us in a strong position to do that."
"I am happy and the team are happy with the direction that we are going and we have to keep working" 

Form guide: United L W D L W D Feyenoord W D D D L W 
Match odds: United 13/5 Draw 4/1 Feyenoord 17/2 
Referee: German official Manuel Grafe takes charge of a first ever United match. 

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