Manchester United will be hoping to secure a place in the Champions League quarter-finals when they welcome Spanish outfit Sevilla to Old Trafford on Tuesday night for their last-16 second-leg clash. The Reds had goalkeeper David de Gea to thank in the first leg three weeks ago, with the Spain international pulling off a number of impressive saves to keep the scoreline goalless. Manager Jose Mourinho will be well aware that his side must put in a much more attacking performance than they did at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, as a score draw will see Sevilla progress to the next round.
United, however, go into Tuesday night’s clash in confident mood, having picked up all three points in their 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Liverpool on Saturday afternoon, a result that tightened their grip on second place in the Premier League table. It was Marcus Rashford who stole the show against Jurgen Klopp’s men with a first-half brace, whilst the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eric Bailly and Ashley Young all put in stellar performances, with the left-back superbly nullifying the threat of star man Mohamed Salah.
On the injury front, Mourinho’s biggest concern is the fitness of midfielder Paul Pogba, who was ruled out of the visit of Liverpool having pulled up in the previous day’s training session. The Frenchman has been dogged by injury and suspension this campaign which has caused him to go through a patch of inconsistent form but his availability against Vincenzo Montella’s side could prove to be the difference. Meanwhile, centre-back Eric Bailly, who made a welcome return to the starting XI on Saturday, seemed to injure himself whilst putting the ball into his own net at the weekend and whilst he was able to complete the 90 minutes, there has been no further update on his situation.
Mourinho, though, has sung the praises of midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who made his return from injury ahead of schedule, having undergone knee surgery and will be able to call upon Frenchman Anthony Martial on Tuesday night, having sat out United’s past two league matches, away to Crystal Palace and at home to Liverpool.
On Saturday, Sevilla suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Valencia, a result that leaves the Andalusians in fifth place in the La Liga standings. United are starting to gather momentum at the most crucial stage of their campaign. In between crucial victories over Chelsea and Liverpool, the Reds staged a remarkable comeback away to Crystal Palace, coming back from two goals to win 3-2.
Their clash with Sevilla is the second of three consecutive crunch matches at Old Trafford for the Reds, who will take on Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon.
With United’s league aspirations all but over, Mourinho must put added importance on the two remaining cup competitions if they are to salvage their season and end the campaign with silverware.