Football: United's 'babies' may get another Europa run-out

Ending Liverpool's perfect start has boosted Manchester United's morale after a shaky start to the season.
Ending Liverpool's perfect start has boosted Manchester United's morale after a shaky start to the season.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester United hope to build on their weekend Premier League draw with leaders Liverpool when they face Europa League Group L joint-leaders Partizan Belgrade today.

Ending Liverpool's perfect start has boosted United's morale after a shaky start to the season.

"We keep going," striker Marcus Rashford said. "We'll try and get a win and hopefully we can kick on."

Partizan and United have four points each, with the Serbs on top by virtue of goals scored - four to one.

United are riding an unbeaten 13-match run in Europe's second-tier event, that started in the 2016-17 campaign in which they lifted the trophy. Partizan's stadium holds a special place in United history because it was there that the Busby Babes played their last game, then against Red Star Belgrade, before the Munich air disaster on the flight home in 1958.

The teams have met only once before, in the 1965-66 European Cup semi-finals which Partizan won 2-1 on aggregate.

United's academy prospects Brandon Williams, 19, Tahith Chong, 19, Angel Gomes, 19, and Mason Greenwood, 18, were all involved in the 0-0 draw with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar the last time out.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to give his youngsters a chance to shine again, with Williams, Greenwood and 18-year-olds Ethan Laird and James Garner in the travelling squad.

But Nicky Butt has urged fans to remain patient with the young talent as the team attempt to bounce back after dropping to 14th in the English league.

"They're very exciting players," said United's head of first team development. "We're all excited about these young boys and there's probably another four or five in the background slowly going to come.

"But they're only babies and young... My concern would be putting too much weight on their shoulders."

Last season's runners-up Arsenal will look to rebound from their league defeat at Sheffield United when they host Portugal's Vitoria Guimaraes. The Gunners are one of five teams with two wins.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'United's 'babies' may get another Europa run-out'. Print Edition | Subscribe