In one of the final games of the round of 16 in this year’s Champions League – Manchester United will lock horns with Sevilla for a place in the Quarter-finals.
For Mourinho, this could be the biggest game of his time at United since the Europa League final in May 2017. Champions League progression has been one of the priorities for the Portuguese and Manchester United – as the club are looking to make it to the last eight of the competition only for the second time since 2014.
The Red Devils will go into this game with confidence sky-high after 3 significant results in the Premier League – first an impressive second-half display against Chelsea, followed by a fightback against Palace from 2 goals down to win it in the final minute. But in a week that culminated in the visit of arch-rivals, it was the Portuguese again who came out on top as United overcame the Reds to open up a five-point gap at the top end of the table.
Without an away goal advantage, Manchester United have to outscore the Spanish side in order to seal progression and their recent form puts them as firm favourites in what is expected to be a close contest, in any case.
Montella’s Sevilla would be kicking themselves for not capitalising on their chances in the home leg with David De Gea once again the saviour for the English giants – but they will fancy themselves against a Manchester United side who have been making errors at the back lately.
The visitors will go into this game with two defeats in the last four – including a 5-2 loss at the hands of Atletico Madrid. An early goal could be very crucial for Montella’s side and should be looking to approach this game with maximum aggression in a bid to press their case for Champions League progression on Tuesday night.
Mourinho will be without injured trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Daley Blind and Phil Jones, whilst Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are all doubts.
The big news from Sevilla on the injury front is the absence of club legend and former Man City star Jesus Navas after the winger suffered an injury against Atletico Madrid.
- United have won 11 of the 15 UEFA competition ties in which they recorded a first-leg away draw, including the last two, most recently against RSC Anderlecht in last season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final (1-1 away, 2-1 home AET).
- Sevilla have never won in six trips to England (D3 L3), although on their most recent visit they emerged with a 2-2 draw from their trip to Liverpool FC on Matchday one this season.
Nemanja Matic – Manchester United
This is the game where Mourinho typically places more emphasis to dominate the opposition in the middle of the park to gain enough control and see the tie through. The Serb has been exceptional in the last few weeks, playing a central role to United’s positive results.
Having scored the injury-time winner against Palace, Matic produced an even better performance in the two victories against top six sides, Chelsea and Liverpool, as United consolidated their position in second place. He knows the importance of this game, however, as United have a genuine opportunity in front of them to go further in the competition. He said,
“Very important for our confidence to win this sort of game. We won against Chelsea and of course (on Saturday), so confidence will be on a high level, for sure.
We have to see what we did well to continue like this. We have to know where we made mistakes to improve. The next game is very important for us, maybe the most important game of the season. We have to beat Sevilla to go through, so we give our best.”
Luis Muriel – Sevilla
With 6 goals and an assist to his name, Muriel is the top scorer at Sevilla. Having been denied multiple times at home, Muriel should be focused to beat arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now in David De Gea to give his side a fighter’s chance in this tie.
The 26-year old forward has averaged a goal in every 2 shots so far this season but it will be interesting to see if the Colombian can bring that kind of accuracy in the grandest of stages.
Momentum lies with Manchester United at the moment. It is hard to see them not going through.