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Gary Pallister hoping ‘red hot atmosphere’ can boost Manchester United’s chances against Liverpool

Former Manchester United defender Gary Pallister is hoping that another great atmosphere at Old Trafford could help propel the Red Devils into form, beating Liverpool and earning a UEFA Europa League quarter-final place in Friday’s draw. A week ago, United lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the first leg of the round of 16 clash, meaning United need to score at least two goals at Old Trafford this evening, and shut Liverpool out of the match completely. The atmosphere at Anfield was electric with Pallister, Andy Cole and Denis Irwin in the away section cheering on the players. The United travelling supporters were loud, with Liverpool’s fans being heard from the moment the penalty was scored, which is pretty lame support right there considering they were the home side last week. If anything, in the early stages, you could have believed United were playing at home, based on the support, not the way they were playing.

On Sunday, Louis van Gaal’s side showed character by earning an Emirates FA Cup replay with West Ham United after Anthony Martial scored a late equaliser, which will have been seen as a boost by many of the players with Liverpool not playing any matches either side of the two fixtures due to them already being knocked out of the FA Cup, at the hands of West Ham earlier in the season. Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the second leg with Liverpool, Pallister said:

“We didn’t want to go into that game off the back of being knocked out of the FA Cup.

“It’s an uphill task and for sure it is a big ask of the players to overcome a 2-0 deficit but hopefully we can get the kind of atmosphere that we saw at Anfield the other night.

“It was a red-hot atmosphere last week and I hope it will be red-hot again on Thursday and Liverpool will feel intimidated by coming to Old Trafford with the crowd in full voice.

“Hopefully that will work in our favour and we can get an early goal and keep the tie alive because if they score we’ll have to score four goals at least.

“We need to make it a difficult place for them to come and play and the tie will really come to life if we can score the first goal.

“It’s also important that we don’t concede but I think the fans will play a big part on Thursday night.”

It has been a poor season for United who were knocked out of the Capital One Cup earlier in the season after losing on penalties to Middlesbrough, the club were then knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stages, finishing third in their group and earning a Europa League place instead. United are currently sixth in the Barclays Premier League, needing to turn their form around in order to achieve a top four place. They are of course still in the Emirates FA Cup and Europa League, but they could exit from Europe’s second elite competition if they fail to beat Liverpool on aggregate this evening. David De Gea has been one of the solid performers for the club this season, which Chris Smalling seen as one of the others. Pallister, a Manchester United Ambassador has stated that the Spanish goalkeeper has been influential this season, along with Smalling and Daley Blind and some of the clubs young performers, who have risen to their challenges of a first team place this season. Pallister said:

“I think Chris Smalling has been outstanding this season.

“He’s had a couple of injury problems this year but I think we saw again on Sunday that he had a very difficult tussle with Andy Carroll – who is obviously very physical – and we needed someone like Chris to stand up to try and nullify threat.

“The kids have also done really well. Marcus Rashford has had an outstanding start to his United career and I think young Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has grown in stature with every game.

“I also think Daley Blind has been really good this year. He’s been moved around into a few positions this year but his understanding of the game is top-class.

“He reads the game so well, he’s a terrific footballer and I think he can take a lot of pride in his performances this year.”

If United fail to win a trophy this season, which is likely, the club will be able to start their plans for next season knowing that many of their youth players have made the grade at the club, which is a massive boost. Under the management of Louis van Gaal, many young players have been given a chance at the club with 14 players given their debuts, many of whom were from the Academy, with others being given a chance by the Dutchman. So far three players who have been handed their debuts are no longer at the club; Saidy Janko, Reece James and Tom Thorpe. In addition to that Tyler Blackett (currently on loan with Celtic), Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Paddy McNair, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Donald Love, Joe Riley, Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and James Weir have been given their debuts from the clubs Academy, with last summer signing Regan Poole and summer 2013 signing Guillermo Varela also being handed debuts, which shows just how much youth have been given their chance under Van Gaal. Some of those players are establishing their places in the first team with Borthwick-Jackson, Varela, Lingard and Rashford having long spells in the team, with many of the other players tipped for the future.

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