3 Things Manchester United Must Do To Beat Anderlecht In Europa League
Manchester United will travel to Brussels as they gear up to take on Belgian side RSC Anderlecht in the first leg of their quarterfinals tie of the UEFA Europa League.
Jose Mourinho’s side are 5th in the Premier League table, 4 points behind Manchester City who occupy the last Champions League spot. The Red Devils do have a game in hand, but the chances of them qualifying to the UEFA Champions League through their league position at the end of the season aren’t very bright.
Hence, it makes the Europa League a very important competition for them as winning the trophy would mean a direct entry into the Champions League next season. Mourinho too has stated the same in the past that their primary target at the moment is winning the Europa League. And in order for them to achieve their goal, United will have to get past Anderlecht in the final eight stage.
Here are three things that will help the Red Devils get a stronghold in the tie, with a win in the first-leg.
Play Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Jose Mourinho has gradually helped Armenian international settle at Old Trafford and as a result, he has now been featuring regularly in the playing XI.
With him on the field, United have someone who has the ability to open up defences and set his teammates through on goal or chip in with a strike himself. In a competition where an away goal is worth its weight in gold, having someone like Mkhitaryan out there, who can make things happen in the attacking third, is absolutely vital for United.
Considering that he got himself on the scoresheet against Sunderland, he should make his case stronger to be included in the playing XI. With him on the field, United are a better team and it is of great importance that Mourinho realizes that and plays him.
Win the Midfield Battle Against Youri Tielemans
Young Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans has been sensational this season for Anderlecht. The 19-year old has been regarded as the next in line of the series of world class footballers Belgium has been churning out in recent times. He has been living up to the billing too!
The central midfielder has been brilliant this term and has netted a whopping 18 goals across all competitions. That is some number for a 19-year old who operates in the middle of the park. He has also set up 11 strikes for his teammates. The midfielder is equally adept in his defensive duties and has been performing them admirably well for Anderlecht this term.
If United are to get a positive result in the first-leg, they will have to find a way to nullify the effect of Tielemans on the game. If not, the youngster has the potential to hurt the visitors.
Keep Lukasz Teodorczyk Quiet
The 25-year old striker arrived at Anderlecht in the summer, on loan from Dynamo Kiev and hasn’t taken long to establish himself as a household name in the Belgian league.
Teodorczyk has been amazing for Anderlecht this season. His goals have been the main driving force behind their impressive season so far. The Polish international has already netted 28 goals this season from 43 appearances across all competitions this term and has also set up 4 goals. 7 of these goals have come in the Europa League and he will be keen to add to his tally against a big team like United.
The Red Devils have been fairly solid at the back over the course of the season under Mourinho. Despite being without some key members in the backline, they have managed to stay strong defensively. And if they are to come out trumps against Anderlecht, silencing Teodorczyk will help them go a long way.