Zorya Luhansk boss Yuriy Vernydub has spoken of how his side’s visit to Old Trafford tonight is “frightening” as the Ukranian team seek to maintain their advantage over the Red Devils after his side beat Fenerbahce whilst Jose Mourinho’s outfit fell to defeat against Feyenoord in Rotterdam. Zorya Luhansk are unbeaten so far this season, having won all but one of their fixtures player to date in this campaign ahead of their toughest test in Manchester this evening in a memorable night for the club.
Wayne Rooney was expected to start for Manchester United but may now miss out with a back injury, but other rotations and changes are expected as Jose Mourinho continues to disregard the competition and give opportunities to his squad players in the Europa League. Marcos Rojo, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian are amongst those likely to feature having struggled to have much influence on the first team scene since Mourinho’s arrival.
Any central defenders at the club would also do well to produce their best performance as rumours have resurfaced that Southampton captain Jose Fonte could be on his way to Old Trafford after summer speculation linked him with a move. Mourinho is reportedly an admirer of the Euro 2016 winner, who spoke this week to confirm that he is not close to signing a new deal with the Saints, despite speculation he has been offered a new £70,000 contract. He said:
“There’s nothing on the table, so I’m waiting. I’ll see what happens. I’m just focusing on performing and we’ll see what happens. We haven’t agreed anything, it’s just talks.”
Mourinho has made it clear that he feels that his side need more defensive reinforcements if they are to compete, particularly after some disappointing results in the opening weeks of the campaign, with Luke Shaw among those to come in for specific criticism. Fonte would bring some much needed experience to the back line, even if he may not bring the star quality that fans may come to expect. Reportedly available for around £10 million if Southampton can be forced to sell, he would be a bargain buy at that price for an experienced and proven Premier League player.
It has been revealed that had Louis Van Gaal remained in charge of Manchester United, the players may well have used the latest in virtual reality technology to train. Former performance analyst and friend of Van Gaal, Max Reckers said:
“Louis is very open to new technology. He’s a very forward-thinking manager… Everyone younger knows iPads, virtual reality, FIFA… so we have to accept they don’t watch TV the way we did. I watched a game for 90 minutes; there’s not a single player who does that anymore. We have to adapt.”
The technology is already being used by Dutch club PSV and is said to aid with tactical work and performance analysis, though many more traditional coaches remain sceptical of its’ effectiveness even at the very top level that United compete at.
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