Manchester United will lock horns with Vincenzo Montella’s Sevilla side this evening at Old Trafford in the 2nd leg fixture of this year’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
The two teams played out a goalless draw in the first leg at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan a fortnight ago.
The current Europa League Champions, Manchester United only need to win the game to advance, a goalless draw in normal time will force the game to extra time and a possible penalty shootout while a draw with any goal margin other than 0 – 0 will see the Spanish side through to the quarterfinals.
Tottenham is the only English side to crash out of this year’s Champions League and United will love to join the other two English side – Liverpool and Manchester City in the last 8.
Sevilla, on the other hand, is 5th on the La Liga table, behind points adrift Champions League spot. Though not considered as favourites to win Europe’s top football competition, Vincenzo Montella’s men will fancy a long run this season.
Having met Liverpool another English side during the group stage, Manchester United presents a tougher test for the former Europa League Champions who have conceded 42 La Liga goals so far and five in a single game on four occasions.
What are the coaches saying?
During yesterday’s post-match conference, coaches of both sides expressed optimism ahead of the game. Sevilla’s coach, Vicenzo Montella discussed his chances having acknowledged it would be a tough test.
“I am as worried as I was in the first leg because United have a strong physical and technical level,” Montella told reporters on Monday.
“It is normal [to be worried] – they are top-level players and they have technique, physical prowess and strength.
“Looking at the first-leg team, his [Mourinho’s] side had very offensive players like [Alexis] Sanchez, [Romelu] Lukaku, et cetera. Tomorrow, it will be the same, a Manchester United with very offensive players.
“We played an excellent match in the first leg, we have to play that to 180 minutes now.
“We have another chance tomorrow [Tuesday], we know that United have beaten Chelsea and Liverpool and have come back against Crystal Palace.
“They’re on a roll, but we hope to interrupt United’s good run. Mourinho is not used to losing at home, so maybe it’ll be good to just draw 1-1.”
However, United coach, Jose Mourinho’s press time yesterday was hued with the jibe he threw at former Crystal Palace coach Frank de Boar who questioned how he (Jose) has handled the development process of English forward Marcus Rashford.
Mourinho said – “I read something, some quote from the worst manager in the history of the Premier League, Frank de Boer,” Mourinho said. “Seven matches, seven defeats, zero goals.
“Where he was saying it was not good for Marcus Rashford to have a coach like me because the most important thing for me is to win if he was coached by Frank he would learn how to lose because he lost every game.”
Who will play?
Though Zlatan Ibrahimovich was seen training with the squad, the ex-Swedish international didn’t make the team list.
However, team captain Michael Carrick who announced at the press conference that he’d retire at the end of the current campaign made the team list for today’s clash.
Manchester United influential midfielder, Paul Pogba makes a return to the squad.
Sevilla’s coach has also revealed some possible names to play following Sebastien Corchia and Jesus Navas absence via injury.
Montella said – “ In a game like this, at the highest level, it is important to keep the same principles of your game,”
“You cannot play differently. We will have four defenders and I have to decide which players.
“I do not have many options for the right-back. One can be [left-back, Sergio] Escudero and the others can be [Gabriel] Mercado and [Simon] Kjaer. That will be the choice.”