Manchester United play Sevilla for a place in the Europa League final on Sunday and Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that his players have the energy to play one, and quite possibly two, more UEL games in a strange season that has now out-lasted an entire calendar year.
“Physically we’re fine,” said Solskjaer. “All the teams have played many games anyway. but now it’s who is the mentally strongest? You’ve got to be strong mentally, concentrated, focused and any of these games can be decided, will be decided, on marginal decisions or finishing.”
“So, we’ve just got to keep them focused and with the right attitude.”
United needed added extra time to best FC Copenhagen 1-0 in the quarterfinal on Monday, and after it was over, Juan Mata said the Red Devils were feeling the fatigue after working over time on a sultry evening in Germany.
Time to see what’s left in the tank and look at the team news for this one. Central defender Phil Jones did not travel to Deutchsland due to injury and he has not featured for the first team since January. First team left back Luke Shaw has been ruled out for the duration of the UEL tournament while Axel Tuanzebe has not played since the restart.
Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui has called United the biggest club in the world, ahead of this match, but they will certainly not be intimidated. The La Liga side has kept clean sheets in seven of the last eight.
Manchester United vs Sevilla UEL Semifinal FYIs
Kickoff: Sunday Aug 16, 8pm, RheinEnergie Stadion, Cologne, Germany
MUFC Starting XI Prediction: go to this link
TV, Stream: BT Sport, BT Sport Extra
Odds: United 29/20, Sevilla 15/8, Draw 9/4
Odds to win UEL tournament: United +190 Sevilla +280
Prediction: United 1, Sevilla 0
Lopetegui’s side are on a 19-game unbeaten run in all competitions, which is a club record, but all streaks have to end some time.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.