Why Van de Beek is braced for a physical challenge
Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek showed off his battle wounds in the dressing room after the bruising win at Southampton.
The Dutchman made his first league start and helped the Reds secure three important points with another assured performance. Posting a snap on Instagram of a badly swollen ankle, he added the caption: 'Welcome to the Premier League!'
The focus shifts to European football this week with Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford in Wednesday's crucial Champions League Group H tie.
A win or draw would send the Reds into the knock-out stages of the competition, with a game left to play, despite being drawn alongside two of the best four sides in the 2019/20 tournament.
In a big interview United Review, the official matchday programme, Donny is asked if he is ready for the physical challenge posed this month.
“Yes, I feel good,” he says.
“I know, before, at Ajax, I also played three times in a week a lot so I knew I’d play a lot of games here.
“Training is also nice but you live for the games. I think these nights, the Champions League nights, are the best.
“The Premier League, of course, is the biggest competition and also amazing, but the Champions League is just something special. So this is why you are a football player.”
United were excellent in winning 2-1 in Paris, a second successive victory at the Parc des Princes, but will be more than aware of the quality within the French champions' ranks. Thomas Tuchel masterminded a 2-0 first-leg victory at Old Trafford in 2019 and the capital club are fighting for their lives in the group, with RB Leipzig handily placed ahead of their tie with Istanbul Basaksehir.
A front-three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria is surely among the best in the game but they were kept relatively quiet in our success on 20 October, when Marcus Rashford scored a late winner.
“We know they’re a really good team with amazing players.” Donny explains in United Review.
“I think we showed in the first away game out there in Paris that we play really as a team – we fight together, we play together and we have a great victory there. I hope we can replicate that at Old Trafford now.
“I think we know what do but, like I’ve said before, we need to be careful because we know they have some really good players but I think we need to show what we did there. Just do the same.
“I think it’s really important – also for the midfielders and for the strikers, everybody, that we play as a team, also helping with the defending. We know how they are up front, really strong, so we need to do it as a team. It is in our hands.”
Read the full interview with Donny van de Beek in Wednesday's United Review, the official matchday programme.