How will Jose Mourinho set up Manchester United for their crucial Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday?
[ MORE: Europa League final preview ]
With an automatic UEFA Champions League spot on the line, United must win to get back to Europe’s top club competition next season. If they don’t it is back to the Europa League for Mourinho’s men.
This won’t be easy, though, as United’s defense has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks and they’re without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Local lad Marcus Rashford has to come up with the goods.
Ajax’s young, attack-minded side will be led by Kasper Dolberg and Bertrand Traore, while Davy Klaassen will pull the strings in midfield.
Back to United, and with Mourinho confirming Sergio Romero would start in goal ahead of David De Gea, just like he has done for most of the Europa League campaign, we know one starter. In defense it is likely to be Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in the center with Eric Bailly suspended, Marcos Rojo out injured and the duo of Ashley Young and Luke Shaw also missing. Valencia and Blind should get the nod out wide with Darmian in reserve.
Midfield is where things get tricky. Michael Carrick‘s experience may be invaluable but Mourinho is likely to go with Fellaini’s grit (if he’s fit) in the engine room alongside Ander Herrera.
Ahead of them in the three attacking positions, Mkhitaryan and Pogba seem certainties to start and then it’s a straight battle between Lingard, Mata and Martial for the other spot. Lingard may just win that battle due to his superior defensive abilities, but it will be close.
Up top it will be Rashford to start with Wayne Rooney waiting in the wings in what could be his final game for United.
Take a look at our suggested lineup below. Do you agree?
Manchester United starting lineup vs. Ajax, Europa League final
—– Romero —– — Valencia — Jones — Smalling — Blind — —- Herrera —- Fellaini —- — Mkhitaryan — Pogba — Lingard — —– Rashford —–
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