Manchester United’s Europa League campaign got off to the worst possible start last week as Real Sociedad claimed all three points at Old Trafford, making tonight’s game against Sheriff Tiraspol a must-win game.
United will be looking to win the tournament and are currently one of the favourites to do so, having started the Premier League season relatively well.
Sheriff won their opening group game, meaning that another defeat for United would mean a challenging second half of the group to qualify for the next stage.
United will also be aiming to finish first in the group as that comes with qualifying immediately for the round of 16. Second-placed teams will face clubs dropping down from the Champions League in the round of 32.
Reds midfielder Fred has now urged his side to bounce back after the disappointment against La Real last week, admitting that Sheriff are a good side and should not be underestimated.
“It’s going to be a difficult game against a good team,” Fred told the official Manchester United website. “Sheriff are a high-quality team. Unfortunately, we lost our first game, so we have to look to win. We know it won’t be an easy game but we’ll do everything to come away with the win.
“They beat Real Madrid in the Champions League last season. They’ve started the competition well so it won’t be an easy game. They’re a good team, hard to play against, and their fans will be behind them.
“But we’re Manchester United. We must always look to win.”
As Fred points out, Sheriff are in this tournament on merit and they will be fancying their chances of earning a result against United tonight. One of their players has already hinted that he will target Harry Maguire.
Real Sociedad are expected to win their game and should Sheriff pull off an upset, United will be six points adrift of both teams – a nightmare scenario for Erik ten Hag.
The Dutchman has named a strong side for the game, however. United will not be playing in the Premier League this weekend, which allows Ten Hag to play his first-choice team.