United XI to face Real Sociedad
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has resisted making huge changes to his starting XI against Real Sociedad in the Europa League at Old Trafford tonight despite a 4-0 lead from the first leg in Turin last Thursday.
The boss has only made four alterations from the 11 players who began last Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League win at home to Newcastle.
Dean Henderson, who has been the go-to goalkeeper in domestic cup competitions and Europe in 2021, replaces David De Gea. Eric Bailly comes in to the centre of defence for captain Harry Maguire, along with Alex Telles at left-back for Luke Shaw from the Newcastle win. Both the Ivorian and the Brazilian played in Italy last week.
The only other change from the game against the Magpies is Mason Greenwood, who started the first leg against the Spaniards, and replaces Marcus Rashford.
Solskjaer explained the reason behind the strong team.
“Every game you play for Man United is a big one and the players out there know our responsibility and to represent this great club you want to put a strong team out that will represent us the right way.
“ he told BT Sport.
“We want to win the game of course. Want to build some more momentum, belief, confidence and you only do that by performing well.”
Solskjaer also said Euro tie is also another chance for Henderson to put forward his claims.
“Dean is here now, he’s maturing, he’s getting more and more games and of course he’s such a talented keeper and we know what David can do and I think it’s important that we find out also and Dean can showcase his own ability and I trust him with everything I’ve got,” said the boss.
Eight of the players among Solskjaer’s starting XI this evening in our second leg last 32 match were in the side who built up that fabulous lead from the first leg.
Skipper Maguire gets a rare rest and wearing the armband in place of the defender is Bruno Fernandes.
Fernandes scored our first two goals in the first leg 4-0 victory at the Juventus Stadium and is skipper for the second time in a United shirt having previously had the job against PSG in the Champions League in October.
Unusually for United we have four goalkeepers in our squad with Henderson starting and De Gea, Lee Grant and Nathan Bishop on the substitutes’ bench. Also on the bench are youngsters Amad Diallo, Shola Shoretire and Ethan Galbraith.
Talking to MUTV about the youngsters maybe getting a run-out, Ole told MUTV:
“It’s a hope that you can go and give them time when it’s enjoyable, but it might be needed. You might need a bright spark out there. So the young lads they know we’re not just giving them minutes for charity.
“It might be that they’ll have to come on and do something that we have to do to win the game, because we want to win this game of football.”
United line up as follows...
Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Telles; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes (c), James; Martial.
Subs: De Gea, Grant, Bishop, Maguire, Shaw, Williams, Tuanzebe, Galbraith, Amad, Rashford, Shoretire.