Thursday 16 March 2017

Match preview: United v FC Rostov (Agg: 1-1)

United have the edge against Russian side Rostov who make the 1,872 mile journey to Old Trafford for a place in the last eight of the Europa League.

On a much-maligned playing surface at the Olimp-2 last week, Henrikh Mkhitaryan's all-important away goal (his third successive strike on the road in Europe) was cancelled out by Aleksandr Bukharov. 

Despite that, 1-1 away from home is Europe has to be considered a good result and the Reds very strong home record in the competition - a 100% win rate - puts us in the driving seat for progress to the quarter finals. 

Having suffered only a second defeat in 29 matches at the hands of Chelsea in the FA Cup, United return to action as they continue a busy week in a bid to lift the only major trophy to elude us.

Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial have not recovered from the injuries that ruled them out at the Bridge but Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera - both banned domestically - will feature. 
Eric Bailly will return from a one-match European suspension having been sent off in Saint-Etienne. 

The visitors will be missing suspended duo Aleksandr Gatskan and Timofei Kalachev, while Vladimir Granit broke his collarbone and will miss out.

This is the Reds third outing in eight days, but Jose played down any talk of fatigue, and said:

"My boys are all good professionals and good professionals find strength, energy, motivation and desire.
"The players are ready, playing at Old Trafford always give them a little bit extra and that is important when we are trying to qualify. 
"If we do that, then the teams in the quarter-finals are not easy, so it is difficult for us but we are going to try.
"We can cope with this situation, the fans can give us that extra support and now we can fight to be in the quarter finals. 
"It's a very important competition for us, that's why we play with a good team, a strong team, from day one."

Russian Premier League side Rostov, under the stewardship of Latvian Ivan Daniliants, have reached the knockout stages of a European tournament for the first time ever. 

Form guide: United W W W D D L  FC Rostov W W D W D D 
Match odds: United 6/1 Draw 11/2 FC Rostov 19/5 
Referee: Lithuanian Gediminas Mazeika takes charge of his first ever United match 

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