By: Kamusime Barnabas
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is likely to consider making changes for the Europa League last-16 second-leg tie with LASK at Old Trafford.
The Reds are 5-0 up from the game in Linz, way back on 12 March, before lockdown ensued, and the competition has previously allowed the boss to rotate his squad, with Sergio Romero starting each of the games in goal bar the draw at AZ Alkmaar in October, when David De Gea captained the side, and the defeat to Astana, when Lee Grant was in net.
Juan Mata, Daniel James, Andreas Pereira and Odion Ighalo all scored in Austria and they will hope to be involved again at Old Trafford as they should come into the match fresh.
Eric Bailly started the first leg and is available after overcoming the head injury he sustained against Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final but Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones are expected to remain on the sidelines.
Youngsters Teden Mengi, Ethan Laird, James Garner and Tahith Chong have been training with the senior group and are options if Ole decides to inject some extra youth into his line-up.
Mengi has yet to make his senior debut after being an unused substitute for the match in Kazakhstan against Astana.
LASK are unbeaten in their last three European away games and this tie will come two days shy of a full year since they started their continental campaign with a win at Basel in the Champions League qualification round.
OLE’S PRESS CONFERENCE
The boss will hopefully provide an update on his squad plans for the round-of-16 tie on Tuesday, during his pre-match preview interview with us and the press conference, which is taking place remotely at 13:00 BST. This will be shown live on MUTV, the Official App and ManUtd.com.
The victors will progress to meet either Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen in Cologne on Monday as the knock-out tournament begins in Germany.
Although winning the competition guarantees entry to next season’s Champions League, the Reds have already secured our place by finishing third in the Premier League. Nonetheless, the chance to emulate our success in 2017 is a real ambition for the current squad.