Everton's Koeman on Europa League final
- Author: Lawrence Cooper May 23, 2017,
May 23, 2017, 11:20
Though he denies it, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has gambled the club s season on the outcome of Wednesday s Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm.
Previous year he became chief executive at the club he helped to Champions League glory in 1995 and is now in the midst of frantic preparations for their latest shot at European glory.
The 35-year-old striker was back at United's Aon Training Complex last week after going under the knife in America to fix the knee ligament damage he sustained during the Europa League quarter-finals. Jose sold him and he didn't play that much at Chelsea, so he knows him well. Yet Mata has played an integral role for the Red Devils this season, scoring six goals in the Premier League and being a regular in the side when fit.
Mindful of the risk of injury over the final weeks of the campaign, Mourinho has been careful to rest key players like Paul Pogba ahead of the final.
How did Ajax reach Stockholm? It offers the club its only route back into the Champions League, and with the league over and sixth place secured, he's going all-out trying to make it happen. "It's a way where I need creative players not afraid to play". I expect that we can change that for next season. Now we are in the final of the Europa League.
"I prefer to keep calm and to keep my mind calm because I feel that I still have to do more for the club".
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Asked if it was the case that victory against Ajax would mean it had been a successful season for United and defeat would mean it had not, Jones said: "In a nutshell, probably". The team coached by Louis van Gaal that won the Champions League in 1995 also blended youngsters like Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert with veteran leader Frank Rijkaard and unsung overseas players like Finidi George and Jari Litmanen.
What's our head-to-head record against them? .
The closing stages of the contest then saw 16-year-old Angel Gomes come on to become the first player born this millennium to play in the top flight, and the youngest player to represent United in the Premier League. The clubs first met in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup first round, when Tommy Docherty's side overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit through goals from Lou Macari and Sammy McIlroy at Old Trafford.
Ander Herrera is delighted to have Zlatan Ibrahimovic on hand to "help" Manchester United as they chase down Europa League glory.
Who's the referee? Damir Skomina is the man in the middle on Wednesday.
That all took a while to bed in, and Ajax began their season falteringly, losing a Champions League playoff 5-2 on aggregate to Russia's FC Rostov to drop into the Europa League.