How should United approach Sevilla test?
So, it’s official: Manchester United will take on Sevilla on Sunday for a place in the Europa League final.
The five-time champions of the competition saw off Wolves on Tuesday to stretch their unbeaten run to 19 games and a tough test looms for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in what has been a sweltering Cologne.
On today’s MUTV Group Chat, Stewart Gardner discussed the upcoming semi-final tie with former Reds Wes Brown, Denis Irwin, David May, Ben Thornley and Danny Webber.
What do the lads make of the Andalucians and how do they expect Ole’s men to line up come 20:00 BST on Sunday? Find out below…
“Wolves played well for about half an hour. They had a great opportunity to go ahead but [Raul] Jimenez missed the penalty. But listen: Sevilla are a great side, they kept possession and eventually wore Wolves down. I was hoping we'd meet Wolves, we know them a lot better. We have had difficulty with Spanish teams, and with Sevilla before, but it's going to be a tough game. They've got one or two really good players dotted in there.
“Ole will play his strongest side now. We had a purple patch when we came back after lockdown and were scoring goals for fun. Ole had a settled XI and I can't see him going too far from that. I really can't. We tired in the last three or four games in the Premier League but to get that up and running again and pose the threat we did in those five or six games. I think Ole will go for that again, I really do.”
MUTV Group Chat: Continental editionVideo
“Everyone wants to play in finals. I know it's different because there are no fans there but you want to be in finals and you want to win things. Denis has touched on it, it’s going to be very difficult. They are a good team but I think if we converted the chances we had the other night [against FC Copenhagen], it'd have been a breeze. We hit the post three or four times and a couple of goals were disallowed. You were thinking: Is it going to be one of those nights? But if we can take the chances we create, we'll have a great chance of going through.
“I think I'd start with Victor [Lindelof] and Harry [Maguire, in defence] and I would probably put [Nemanja] Matic in there instead of Fred. Just so that Bruno [Fernandes] and [Paul] Pogba can do what they can do. I think that's our strongest team.”
“[The one-legged element] puts a whole new spin on it. You're one mistake away from going out the cup or you're one moment away from going through. It's a tense situation. What I've enjoyed this season is that we've generally found a way to do it, even if it hasn't been pretty. Games like Norwich in the FA Cup, with Maguire scoring late on. I'm hoping with that sort of resilience and firepower, we've got enough to put Sevilla to bed. It’ll be a tough one. I see 2-1 with a bit of drama in it - Spanish sides always seem to like theatrics!”
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“We have to be on top of our game. Sevilla are technically very good and if we don’t perform to our highest level, at this point, we could be punished. If we are on the top of our game, we'll cause them a lot of problems but we need to do it as a team.”
“After seeing them play the other night against Roma, I thought they were going to be really tough opposition. I didn’t think they were anywhere near as dominant last night against Wolves but I think, in a battle of strikeforces, United will come out on top if we take our chances.”