Europa triumph at the top of fired-up United's mind

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (right) plotting his side's tactics ahead of their Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht. The Europa League winners will be guaranteed a Champions League berth.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (right) plotting his side's tactics ahead of their Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht. The Europa League winners will be guaranteed a Champions League berth.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw warned rivals that the Red Devils could be "unstoppable" in their quest to win the Europa League this season.

United face Jose Mourinho's former club Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, but they are focused on their trip to Anderlecht for today's Europa League quarter-final first leg clash.

"Every single game is massive now, but I think the one on Thursday is huge," Show told British media. "We have to treat every game now like it's a final. We want to win that tournament.

"The Europa League is a massive thing for us now - it's a trophy and it gives us qualification for the Champions League. With the players we have got, we can be unstoppable."

United are fifth in the Premier League, four points behind Manchester City, who occupy the final qualifying spot for next season's Champions League.

Winning the Europa League is an alternative route into next year's Champions League, although Mourinho has indicated they will not give up on their top-four chase.

Right-back Antonio Valencia is expected to return against Anderlecht after missing United's last two league fixtures, while goalkeeper David de Gea remains a doubt with a hip injury.

Mourinho hinted he will field a largely similar team to the one that defeated Sunderland 3-0 on Sunday due to injuries.

"We played with the players available (against Sunderland)," the United manager told MUTV yesterday. "Not one single player stayed in Manchester because we were thinking about resting them, or because we were thinking about rotation or about Anderlecht. Not at all.

"These are the players available at the moment, and when I look to the others, I just expect Valencia to be ready to play. I don't think the other boys will be ready to play."

The seven first-team absentees at the Stadium of Light included Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Juan Mata and captain Wayne Rooney.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2017, with the headline 'Europa triumph at the top of fired-up United's mind'. Print Edition | Subscribe