The Manchester United fans in the Transfer Tavern are beginning to feel the pre-match nerves ahead of another huge clash against Sevilla in the last-sixteen of the Champions League this evening.
Jose Mourinho’s side managed to extend their advantage in second place in the Premier League to 4 points this weekend following a 2-1 victory over their rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. Fixtures between the two rivals clubs are typically feisty affairs fuelled by emotion and a burning desire to secure bragging rights, but the clash took on a further importance on Saturday lunchtime due to the clubs shared ambition to achieve a top-four finish this season.
United ultimately prevailed and took a giant step towards securing their place in next seasons competition with a 2-1 victory courtesy of a first-half brace from Marcus Rashford, and Mourinho will be hoping his side can replicate the standard of performance once again this evening.
Ander Herrera was once again absent for Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday due to a thigh injury which has ruled him out of contention since the end of January. United have coped relatively well in his absence as Scott McTominay has stepped up the plate and delivered some excellent performances at the heart of United’s midfield.
McTominay seems to be really enjoying the increased responsibility Mourinho has suddenly thrust upon him since the turn of the year, but his lack of experience could cost United this evening in Herrera’s absence.
The 20-year-old midfielder was guilty of ball-watching in United’s fixture against Chelsea at the end of February as he allowed Willian to run beyond him unmarked before the Brazilian gave his side the lead. He recovered well thereafter and played a key role in United’s winner whilst continuing to battle in the centre of midfield, but another mistake of that nature this evening could prove fatal for United’s European ambitions this season.
Herrera’s abilities will undoubtedly be missed tonight, and not only because McTominay is lacking experience in a fixture of this magnitude. The Spaniard provides an excellent shield to United’s defensive unit and is consistently productive in possession of the ball whilst moving forward, so The Red Devils will be lacking a valuable presence at both ends of the pitch.
McTominay’s development has been both intriguing and positive for United so far this season, but if he wishes to have a future at the club then he needs to prove he is able to perform on the big stage whilst deputising for Herrera in the centre of midfield tonight.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!