Lukaku, Sanchez hold key to Europe success

SEVILLE (Spain) • Manchester United are equipped to lift the Champions League trophy this season, utility player Ashley Young has said, and have the scoring firepower to do so in attackers Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

United, who last won Europe's premier club competition in 2008 for their third triumph, travel to Spain to take on LaLiga's fifth-placed side Sevilla today.

"Of course (we can win the Champions League)," Young, who has been deployed as a fullback and attacker on both flanks this season, told the British media. "We just have to concentrate on ourselves."

United, second in the Premier League, have added European pedigree in January signing Sanchez, and Young has seen enough of his team-mate's understanding with top scorer Lukaku to be confident of his side's goal threat.

Sanchez, who twice reached the Champions League semi-finals with Barcelona, is available for manager Jose Mourinho's selection, having played the Europa League for Arsenal this season.

Young said of Lukaku: "When you have a striker scoring goals, it's always important. His hold-up play, his all-round game was fantastic at Huddersfield, and he's done that all throughout the season."

Sanchez created one of Lukaku's two goals in a 2-0 FA Cup win over Huddersfield on Saturday, and Young added: "You can see the combinations between them. Alexis comes inside and Rom's seen him and picked him up as well. They're picking each other out and they have worked well together so far."

Sevilla, Europa League winners three times in a row from 2014-16, will welcome United on the back of a 2-1 league win over Las Palmas.

Their French defender, Clement Lenglet, 22, admits tonight will be a test of his team's abilities, as well as his own as he looks to subdue Lukaku, who scored four times in the group stage.

"When you play in the last 16 of the Champions League, the striker you are facing is always a top player, who is able to score from any position and we will have to be very attentive," said Lenglet.

He added that Sevilla, who have never progressed beyond the last 16 of the Champions League, will have to "play like animals" to win, but insisted that nobody was "scared" of United.

United midfielder Paul Pogba trained yesterday but may face a late fitness test to feature in Seville. He withdrew from United's Cup win because of illness. Mourinho may also welcome back Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline 'Lukaku, Sanchez hold key to Europe success'. Print Edition | Subscribe