Report: Manchester United beaten in Istanbul leaves them with Europa League hill to climb

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 in Istanbul in a match where Moussa Sow scored a spectacular overhead kick inside the first two minutes of the match and Jeremain Lens also scoring a stunning goal to attain all three points from the match. Wayne Rooney, despite missing a decent chance on goal in the early stages of the match scored s stunner himself in the 89th minute of the match.

United manager Jose Mourinho made a few changes to his starting XI against Fenerbahce with Morgan Schneiderlin, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial all returning to the starting lineup. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who had been absent since the Manchester derby defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford on the 10th September, returned to the squad, taking a place on the bench, which will have stopped some moaning from the supporters. United did not start their match well, conceding an early goal, a spectacular overhead kick from Moussa Sow just two minutes into the match, which gave United a much bigger job to do. The atmosphere inside the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium was fantastic, something United may have to deal with in order to get something from the match.

United had some good build up play coming up to the ninth minute with Morgan Schneiderlin starting the play, some passing between Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, with the latter having a shot on goal, wich was off target. United have a lot of work to do after that early goal, but they were trying to get the better of the home side. The night could have been so much worse for United after Schneiderlin took a Jeremain Lens out with his trailing leg, just outside the box, earning himself a yellow card. United immediately went on the attack, which came to nothing other than United winning a corner, which added some pressure for the home side, but nothing that would level the score for United. Ander Herrera became the second United player to be booked in the 18th minute of the match, it’s surely not going to end up like the Burnley match, is it?

United just seemed to be a side that were a shadow of themselves, especially since the opening goal just two minutes into the match. The talent was there, it just was not attainable by the players on the pitch for whatever reason. United had a good chance to level the score in the 21st minute of the match as Martial threaded the ball into the box, towards Rooney, whose touch was poor, sending it over the crossbar. Just another reason why Rooney is no longer the top player in this side. Fenerbahce then attacked, putting United under a lot of pressure, but failing to get themselves another goal. Paul Pogba was unable to continue after 28 minutes of the match, suffering from a dead leg and trying to run it off, being unable to. United brought Zlatan Ibrahimovic on for the Frenchman, who will now lead the line, with Rooney playing in Pogba’s number ten role.

United now needed to keep their heads, get themselves back into the match and try and ensure all three points head back to Manchester with them. United had some good periods in the first half, but failing to take any control in the match. Tempers seemed to boil in the dying embers of the match after Rooney fouled Sousa and Volkan Demirel saw himself booked for a skirmish. United still out of sorts and the arrival of Ibrahimovic after Pogba’s injury has not changed anything. Sow nearly scored for the home side in stoppage time at the end of the first half, United clinging onto their position in the match so far. The first half ended with United needing to take their chances in the second half.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made another change with Juan Mata replacing Morgan Schneiderlin. United, despite trying to find something from the game and being out of sorts in achieving it. Just before the hour, Jeremain Lens scored another stunning effort doubling the home sides lead. Immediately, Mourinho made his third change of the match bringing on Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Marcus Rashford. United were the livelier of the two sides with the Armenian attempting to get something for his side, gaining possession and trying to work his magic. Fenerbahce seemed dangerous on the counter attack, which seems to threaten United all the more, leaving them back tracking. United continued to try and find something, with that coming in the 89th minute with Rooney scoring his 247th Manchester United goal. Despite the late resurgence from United, it was not enough and now they will need results from their last two matches in order to qualify for the knockout stages in the UEFA Europa League.

Goals: Wayne Rooney 89′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw; Schneiderlin (Mata 46′), Herrera; Pogba (Ibrahimovic 30′); Rashford (Mkhitaryan 60′), Rooney, Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones; Young, Fellaini

Bookings: Morgan Schneiderlin 12′, Ander Herrera 18′, Juan Mata 73′

CONFIRMED: Darmian, Schneiderlin, Pogba & Martial start against Fenerbahce; Mkhitaryan on the bench!

Manchester United face Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Europa League at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul a fortnight after beating the Turkish side 4-1 at Old Trafford. United need to take all three points to given them a good chance of making the knockout stages of the tournament, with two matches remaining, meaning that a victory over Feyenoord at Old Trafford on the 24th November should all but put them through in Europe’s secondary competition. This could be United’s best chance of UEFA Champions League football next season with United currently in eighth place in the Premier League, just eight points from the top spot with ten matches played. United do need to change their form as they have not won in the league since the 4-2 humiliation of reigning champions Leicester City at the end of September. United played well in their last match, a 0-0 draw against Burnley at Old Trafford, despite having 37 shots on goal and playing some good football, Tom Heaton, the wood work and a lack of luck left United feeling frustrated. Beating Robin van Persie’s Turkish side will put United in good stead ahead of the trip to Swansea City on Sunday.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw;

Schneiderlin, Herrera;

Rashford, Pogba, Martial;



Romero; Jones; Mata, Young, Mkhitaryan, Fellaini; Ibrahimovic

Press Conference: Schweinsteiger in training to boost numbers, not to return to the fold

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho along with Matteo Darmian briefed the media ahead of the UEFA Europa League group stage clash with Fenerbahçe in Istanbul on Thursday evening. A fortnight ago, United beat the Turkish side 4-1 at Old Trafford in a match which saw two penalties; scored by Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, a second stunning goal for Pogba followed by a Jesse Lingard effort in the comfortable victory. Fenerbahçe managed to find a consolation goal, scored by former United striker Robin van Persie, which is something the home supporters celebrated with cheers of ‘Oh Robin van Persie’, with the Dutchman thankful for his former clubs support, a club he still calls home, which is funny as he spent much longer at Arsenal. Mourinho had already named a 21-man squad which travelled to the former Turkish capital earlier on Wednesday morning. Here are the main points from the press conference.

Matteo Darmian on Manchester United’s opposition on Thursday – Fenerbahçe and how they were there to win:

“We expect a very difficult game. We know it will be difficult because Fenerbahce is a good team with good players, so tomorrow we want to fight [for the win]. We are here to win – that’s it.”

Darmian now has a clear run of matches to gain the trust of his manager, but had sympathy for Antonio Valencia and his injury:

“Of course, I work a lot in the first part of the season and have to be ready when the manager gives me an opportunity. I feel sorry for Antonio for his injury. We wait on his recovery and I hope he can come back as soon as possible.”

Jose Mourinho was asked about his FA charge and the spat with Mark Clattenburg which saw him sent ot the stands on Saturday:

 “No reaction.”

Mourinho on his Manchester United side bouncing back from their defeat to Feyenoord earlier in the season:

“If we lose in Feyenoord and in the next two matches we don’t have points, we would be in big trouble and we would be playing tomorrow, our last chance. By having six points out of six from our home matches, we have put ourselves in a positive position.”

Mourinho on Phil Jones who has returned to the squad after a lengthy injury:

“I almost don’t remember when Phil Jones had a good run of matches for United. He’s having a difficult relationship with the injuries. But he worked hard to recover – he’s training with the team for more than a week now. We are in a difficult situation because we lost three defenders in a week.”

Mourinho on Fenerbahçe’s defeat to Manchester United a fortnight ago and their current form:

“I don’t think Fenerbahce had a bad game. For more than half an hour, they were solid and the game was not easy for us. The fact that Fenerbahce has back to back victories is not a surprise. They have very good players and very experienced managers like Dick Advocaat. He plays players with experience of the highest level, the experience of international competitions.”

Mourinho on the UEFA Europa League:

“The Europa League winner has a direct spot in Champions League so for last couple of years Europa League has a different meaning for the big clubs. I won’t change my mind, the big clubs belong to the Champions League and the Champions League history belongs to the big clubs. Because of the direct spot in the Champions League, the Europa League is a big target for us.”

Mourinho on Manchester United challenge this season:

“What I’m happy with is the performances. Sometimes, you win matches but you feel that period cannot last forever because the team is not playing so well. Other times we don’t have good results but we feel that the way the team plays the good results have to arrive sooner or later. I have a very good feeling towards the players. After the bad result against Chelsea, the team reacted in an unbelievable way.”

Mourinho on Matteo Darmian filling the void for Antonio Valencia:

“He played really well in the last match against Burnley. He’s ready to play tomorrow and to give continuity of the good work our right backs are doing in both competitions. We trust him totally.”

Mourinho on Antonio Valencia and how long he feels he will be out of action:

“[Antonio] Valencia is a bad injury, he’s got a serious fracture in his arm, he’ll be out for a while. The good thing is, when Valencia was playing really well we were preparing Darmian who was having minutes to develop himself.”

Mourinho on Bastian Schweinsteiger returning to training at the start of the week:

“Schweinsteiger is back. We made that decision last Thursday. We phoned him last Friday so he could join the team last Monday. It was a decision based on fact that we are in a period of the season where it’s really difficult with everybody together.

“The problem of tactical work that I like to do with 21 players max, to have 23/24 at a time doesn’t happen. Looking at Bastian and the way he was working professionally every day with the fitness coach, we think it’s a professional decision to bring him back to the team.

“We will be much better prepared, much better conditions, in case his future decision is to leave the club. In this moment we have no problems in midfield like we do in defence. If we do have problems in midfield, he’s one option for us. It’s a decision that can be positive for the group.”

Mourinho on management offers he received and that he’s happy to be at Manchester United:

“I got an invitation to leave Porto and coach a Turkish club back in 2002/03. It didn’t happen. Since then, 13/14 years of football it never happened again. Now I’m where I want to be – so happy to be.

“In the minimum, I want to stay until the end of my contract. After that, who knows? I’m a football man, very young so. I love passion for the game and in Turkey there is huge passion for the game so why not?”

Manchester United need to start finding some form for their busy November where they face Fenerbahçe, Swansea City, Arsenal, Feyenoord and West Ham United twice. United have been playing well, be chances played into the opposition area have just not fallen for United. 37 shots on goal against Burnley with Tom Heaton making many saves, the woodwork saving Burnley too was just one of those days. Creativity is not a problem for United this season, it is all there. It is the finishing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems to have lost some form, and perhaps that will change once he has been given a rest and found his feet again. All strikers go through the same problems, but when it is a Manchester United player, the negativity seems to be much stronger, especially from the moronic few who ‘apparently’ support the club, yet tweet abuse at the players in a pathetic manner.

Bastian Schweinsteiger returned to first team training, but as Mourinho clarified, his position outside of the team still will not change. He has been brought into the first team training system to up the numbers and make things easier. It will help him gain some fitness in a team scenario, and should he decide to leave the club in January, or next summer, he will be ready to leave and will have done his bit with the first team. Mourinho clarified that the midfield situation at the club is fine, United have Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, not to mention Timothy Fosu-Mensah who came on as a midfielder against Fenerbahçe a fortnight ago at Old Trafford. That said, Schweinsteiger returning to the field in a Manchester United shirt again will depend on many injuries being suffered at the same time. That won’t appease many fans as the reported U-Turn is not one as such, more of an ‘upping the numbers in training’ reason for him to be brought back in, and rightly so.

Preview: Manchester United to find momentum to propel them through November?

Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey

UEFA Europa League 2016/17

Saturday 29th October 2016 – KO 15:00

Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)

Assistant Referees: Milovan Ristić (SRB) and Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)

Additional Assistant Referees: Danilo Grujić (SRB) and Nenad Djokić (SRB)

Fourth Official: Nemanja Petrović (SRB)

Manchester United travel to Istanbul to face Fenerbahçe for the second time in a fortnight in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. United beat the Turkish side 4-1 at Old Trafford a fortnight ago with Paul Pogba scoring a brace, including one from the penalty spot, Anthony Martial also scored from the spot and Jesse Lingard completed the scoring. Robin van Persie, given a rapturous welcome to his former club, also found the back of the net, with a loud celebration from the home support. United had won their second match in the secondary European competition this season, which saw them rise to second in the group, level on points with Feyenoord, the only team to beat them in this competition this season. A victory over Fenerbahçe again will boost the Old Trafford side, who face Feyenoord at Old Trafford on the 24th November. If Feyenoord fail to win against Zorya Luhansk this evening, and United win in Istanbul, they will top the group, meaning the group will be winnable against the Dutch side at the end of the month. Then, United will be able to give the younger players a run out in the final match away to Zorya Luhansk in the Ukraine in early December, meaning they will be through to the knockout stages whatever the result, should Jose Mourinho want to do this, of course.

In the Premier League, Manchester United have not won a match for over a month, beating Leicester City 4-1 at Old Trafford in late September, however, they have only been beaten once, a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. United have drawn 1-1 with Stoke City, 0-0 with Liverpool and 0-0 with Burnley this weekend. The only other victory, other than the 4-1 victory over Fenerbahçe was a 1-0 win over local rivals Manchester City in the EFL Cup, which sees United go head to head with West Ham United later this month at Old Trafford, three days after playing the club in the Premier League at home. November is a tough month for United, but based on the way they played against Burnley, the matches are winnable. United travel to Swansea on Sunday to face Bob Bradley’s fallen side, who were defeated by Stoke City 3-1 on Monday evening, meaning they are in a bad place currently, which should see United take advantage of the side who in recent years have been a problem for United, beating them two out of three times at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

United have a chance to put themselves into some good form with their upcoming matches, providing they maintain momentum take their challenge to the other team, not putting a foot wrong in the matches, keeping their heads and attacking, which seems to be the best form of defence. Arsenal could well be a problem with them being in good form, but as last night showed, their defence is still a problem as Ludogorets managed to score twice in the opening 15 minutes of the match. Arsenal did find some inspiration though, winning the match 3-2, but it just shows they are a long way from that ‘invincbles’ side they were over a decade ago. Jose Mourinho has a few problems with injuries right now, especially with Eric Bailly, who suffered a serious knee injury against Chelsea. Marcos Rojo though has fit in well with the side, playing much better as a central defender, who will probably partner Daley Blind against the Turkish side. Phil Jones is back from his latest injury, which may not mean much, but there is still some depth in the defence, even with Chris Smalling missing out yet again.

Manchester United Form:- DWLWD

Burnley 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W, Chelsea 4-0 L, Fenerbahçe 4-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D

Manchester United are still having a mixed season. Criticism still seems to be rife wherever you look, but some just cannot see the improvements Jose Mourinho has made to Manchester United this season. The draw against Burley will show you how well United have been playing. 37 shots on goal, which just shows how creative United have been recently. That sort of thing was not seen under Louis van Gaal last season, in fact, I think United had more shots in one match than they did, on average at least, for half of the first ten matches in the league last season. Patience is needed. Many supporters don’t seem to have that, moaning at the slightest thing. It seems that sacking the manager is a popular moan after a draw or a defeat, yet when United win, you see nothing of the sort. Fickle much?

Fenerbahçe Form:- WWLDD

Kardemir Karabükspor 5-0 W, Konyaspor 1-0 W, Manchester United 4-1 L, Alanyaspor 1-1 D, Osmanlıspor 1-1 D

Since being beaten 4-1 by Manchester United a fortnight ago, Fenerbahçe have turned around their form in their native Turkey. On their visit to the Theatre of Dreams, Dick Advocaat’s side were ninth in the league, but by winning their last two matches, scoring six goals in total, Fenerbahçe have risen to fifth in the league, now eight points behind league leaders İstanbul Başakşehir. Robin van Persie only had one goal this season before arriving at his former club, scoring in the dying minutes to the applause of the Old Trafford faithful. He recently scored twice, once from the spot in the 5-0 victory over Kardemir Karabükspor. This match may be difficult for United, who managed to beat the Turkish side without really getting out of their first gear.

Manchester United Top Scorers:

6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 2 – Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling

Fenerbahçe Top Scorers:

7 – Emmanuel Emenike, 4 – Robin van Persie, 3 – Miroslav Stoch, 2 – Aatif Chahechouhe, Josef de Souza, Ozan Tufan, Simon Kjær, 1 – Fernandão, İsmail Köybaşı, Jeremain Lens, Alper Potuk, Mehmet Topal, Martin Škrtel, Moussa Sow

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Eric Bailly (knee), Chris Smalling (knock)

Fenerbahçe Squad:

Manager: Dick Advocaat

Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel, Ertuğrul Taşkıran, Fabiano

Defenders: Hasan Ali Kaldırım, Simon Kjær, Şener Özbayraklı, Savaş Polat, İsmail Köybaşı, Gregory van der Wiel, Roman Neustädter, Martin Škrtel

Midfielders: Mehmet Topal, Souza, Alper Potuk, Ozan Tufan, Volkan Şen, Ramazan Civelek, Muhammed Karakoç, Ahmethan Köse, Salih Uçan, Jeremain Lens, Miroslav Stoch

Forwards: Robin van Persie, Moussa Sow, Emmanuel Emenike, Caner Koca

Injuries and Suspensions: N/A

Predicted Starting XI:

At this moment in time, Manchester United need to find that winning formula to get the results they need. Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems to be out of form currently, possible in need of a rest, so with that in mind, letting Marcus Rashford lead the line might be the better with the 19-year-old not fitting in when playing on the wing, but it is a position he wanted to play in to become that top striker, which is what he aims to be. Henrikh Mkhitaryan could well get some minutes on the pitch away from the pressure of the Premier League, which would benefit him more than dropping him in at the deep end against Swansea City on Sunday. Anthony Martial would suit the left-wing in my opinion, with Juan Mata playing his favoured number ten role, something he has been doing well recently, even playing a wider role. He is the most consistent creative player this season, and should be rewarded for that. A midfield pairing of Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera could be good, for the first hour at least, with Morgan Schneiderlin coming on later in the match to do a job, after United have got the goals they need to win the match. In defence, Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw should do the job, with David De Gea retaining his place in the starting XI once again.

Predicted Score:

Fenerbahçe 1-3 Manchester United

Report: Paul Pogba starred in Robin van Persie’s homecoming

Manchester United were looking to prove doubters wrong after a tactical performance against Liverpool, against the returning Robin van Persie as Fenerbahce visited Old Trafford. United battered the Turkish-side 4-1 with goals from Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard and a consolation goal from Van Persie. United fielded a strong side with David De Gea, Pogba, Martial and Wayne Rooney all starting.

Manchester United clearly started off the better team pressing highly against a defensive Fenerbahce side. With Carrick sitting deep United seemed much more assured going forward as Pogba and Mata could join the attack every time. The first real opportunity came after 15 minutes when Juan Mata picked up the ball from the right-hand side whipped a ball towards the back post, flying in to get his head on it was Martial  but unfortunately for them he couldn’t quite time his jump well and the chance was gone. United did dominate possession and soon enough they scored but it came through a very direct method after 31 minutes. Carrick sitting inside his own half then pinged a 60 yard ball with great precision finding Juan Mata who controlled well but was fouled from behind, up stepped Paul Pogba and his penalty beat the keeper to his right.

Just 2 minutes later and United were awarded another penalty. Juan Mata slid through a delightful low volley into Martial’s feet who was clipped from behind giving the referee no choice but to give a penalty. This time Martial stepped up and scored in exactly the same corner Pogba managed earlier. It got better for United and Pogba just before half time, a great break started with Wayne Rooney who stole the ball with a strong interception, he then fed Lingard who turned away from goal and laid it off to Pogba who curled his shot into the top corner past Demirel. United go into the half 3-0 up!

During half time United made a change by replacing Chris Smalling with Marcos Rojo. United started the second half off the same way they finished the first half, by scoring! Pogba picked up the ball just inside the Fenerbahce half, a clever pass feeds Rooney who first time lays it off to Jesse Lingard who shoots low from 20 yards out into the back of the Fenerbahce net. 10 minutes into the second half and the visiting side managed to get a grip of the game and pull together a 5 minute spell of possession including a free-kick from the right-hand side which was lofted in by Souza but headed clear by Michael Carrick. 5 minutes later the returning RVP hit a curving shot just wide of the far hand post after finding some great space on the edge of the box. This spell continued and after 62 minutes RVP whipped a free-kick into the box headed behind by Shaw but the pressure was mounting.

Manchester United made the second of their changes after 65 minutes when Jesse Lingard was replaced by Memphis Depay. Memphis had his first real chance on the ball, finding space about 25 yards out and hit a vicious shot just wide. Just moments before though he bombed down the left hand side after being fed by Mata but his ball squared across was weak and intercepted. After 75 minutes, Paul Pogba was replaced by Timothy Fosu-Mensah. 5 minutes later Mata was denied by Demirel after Memphis slipped a good pass through and his right-footed attempt was saved well.

In the 83rd minutes the United faithful got their wish, good work from Emmanuel Emenike on the left hand side beat Darmian and then fed a low cross into Robin van Persie on his return to Old Trafford, which lead to strong applause and chants from the United fans as well as those travelling. 4-1 to Manchester United going into the last 5 minutes. United appeared to be sitting back but a good counter attack lead to a corner being gained and from which, some very neat play arose. Memphis played it short to Mata, back to Memphis who’s flick found Mata again who set up Fosu-Mensah whose shot from the edge of the box was relatively easily saved.
United close out the last two minutes with ease and complete what was a fast paced, attacking display and most importantly 3 points more in the group.

Goals: Paul Pogba (pen) 31′, 45+1′, Anthony Martial (pen) 33′, Jesse Lingard 48′

Assists: Jesse Lingard 45+1′, Wayne Rooney 48′

Manchester United: De Gea, Darmian, Bailly, Smalling (Rojo 46′), Shaw, Carrick, Pogba (Fosu-Mensah 75′), Lingard (Memphis 66′), Mata, Martial, Rooney

Substitutes Not Used: Romero, Fellaini, Rashford, Ibrahimovic

CONFIRMED: Pogba, Rooney and Martial start against Fenerbahce

Manchester United face Fenerbahçe for the fifth time in European competition at Old Trafford this evening. Both teams have won twice, with United having the biggest victory with a 6-2 win, inspired by Wayne Rooney on his debut back in 2004. United have been in good form recently, lengthening their unbeaten run to five matches, but after this match, two tricky encounters are on the horizon with a visit to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, followed by another Manchester derby against Manchester City at Old Trafford in the EFL Cup next Wednesday. If United can get through tonight’s match, and the two against Chelsea and City unbeaten, they will have weathered a tough storm, which will only strengthen them heading into the remainder of the season. Here are the starting XI’s and list of substitutes for both teams this evening.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Darmian, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw;

Carrick, Pogba;

Mata, Rooney, Lingard;



Romero; Fosu-Mensah, Rojo; Memphis, Fellaini; Ibrahimovic, Rashford

Turkish Delight: Manchester United and Fenerbahce have a split history in Europe

Manchester United face Fenerbahçe in the third group stage match in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night at Old Trafford. United are in a difficult period of matches, drawing against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday night, entertaining the Turkish side this evening, travelling to Chelsea on Sunday and then the second Manchester derby at Old Trafford this season in the EFL Cup next Wednesday, so there are some big games on the horizon for Jose Mourinho’s side. United will have had less than three days before facing Fenerbahce, two days before facing Chelsea and then a three-day break before facing Manchester City, who were defeated by Barcelona, the side they aspire to be (far from it) in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening. United and Fenerbahçe have met four times, albeit in the UEFA Champions League, which makes this match worth of a Champions League group stage match. United have won twice, one a spectacular 6-2 victory, winning on another occasion, then losing the other two encounters.

Fenerbahçe 0-2 Manchester United – UEFA Champions League – Wednesday 16th October 1996

The first encounter between the two sides in the 1996/97 season. Sir Alex Ferguson led his Manchester United side against Sebastiao Lazaroni’s Fenerbahçe with David Beckham and Eric Cantona scoring to fire United to victory. This was a good year for United as the likes of Gary Neville, Nicky Butt,  and David Beckham were coming through the ranks and making their presences known, which in just under three years time would see Ferguson’s men reach the promised land, winning that all elusive treble. Winning the Champions League was not meant to be this season, falling to Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals was the furthest this United side would get, which would soon see the end of Cantona, one of the stars of the team at the time.

Manchester United 0-1 Fenerbahçe – UEFA Champions League – Wednesday 30th October 1996

The second match in the double-header between the two sides in the group stages saw United beaten 1-0, a side relatively unchanged which still contained David Beckham, Gary Neville, and Nicky Butt, with the addition of Phil Neville and Paul Scholes being substitutes in the match. United obviously got out of the group stages, so this defeat was not all that costly, but to lose in the fourth match in the group stages was not the best. United eventually finished in second place in the group, seven points behind Juventus, with the Turkish side finishing third. United’s defeat was not all that costly, but could have been so different, should United have got the result they wanted.

Manchester United 6-2 Fenerbahçe – UEFA Champions League – Tuesday 28th September 2004

The best match between the two sides. Wayne Rooney made his Manchester United debut against the Turkish giants, a match where his presence was not expected, but his talent had been seen many times, which was one of the reasons Sir Alex Ferguson paid the money Everton wanted. Ryan Giggs took the lead for United in just seven minutes, which was a great start. Ten minutes after that, Rooney scored his first goal of the match, announcing himself on the European stage on his first United match, which is something that has been matched by Marcus Rashford already. Eleven minutes later, Rooney scored his second goal, putting United 3-0 up. At the start of the second half, Fenerbahçe scored their first goal of the evening through Marcio Nobre, just a minute after the restart. Rooney completed his hat-trick eight minutes later, changing the score to 4-1 with United running wild. Five minutes later, Tuncay scored for the visitors, their second and final goal of the evening. 4-2, game on. But United were not finished. Twelve minutes from time, Ruud van Nistelrooy scored United;s fifth goal of the evening with David Bellion scoring the last goal of the night just three minutes later. It was not United’s first big result in Europe and was not their last, but the Turkish side left Old Trafford humiliated.

Fenerbahçe 0-2 Manchester United – UEFA Champions League – Wednesday 8th December 2004

After the 6-2 humiliation, Fenerbahçe would be looking for revenge in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League. United were in the same group as Lyon and Sparta Prague, and before this match were top in the group with Lyon in second place. United were through to the knockout stages whatever happened, so Sir Alex Ferguson made some changes to his team. A 20-year-old Darren Fletcher and Kieran Richardson, 19-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo and 23-year-olds Eric Djemba-Djemba and Liam Miller all started the match. An 18-year-old Jonathan Spector, 17-year-old Gerard Pique, and 19-year-old Chris Eagles were all substitutes in the match. Fenerbahçe won the match 2-0, finished third in the group, but was not good enough to displace any teams above them. United were through to the knockout stages by coming second in the group with Lyon beating Sparta Prague 5-0 to top the group. United went onto face Milan in the knockout stages, losing 1-0 in both legs and exiting the tournament.

Preview: Manchester United looking to overthrow Fenerbahce?

Old Trafford, Manchester

UEFA Europa League 2016/17

Thursday 20th October 2016 – KO 20:05 [Live on BT Sport]

Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)

Assistant Referees: Frédéric Haquette (FRA) and Hicham Zakrani (FRA)

Additional Assistant Referees: Benoît Millot (FRA) and Jérôme Miguelgorry (FRA)

Fourth Official: Julien Pacelli (FRA)

Manchester United will be pitted against Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening at Old Trafford. The return of Robin van Persie to the Theatre of Dreams, which many will enjoy, could well be a tough encounter for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side. Fresh from the Anfield match which United earned a draw from, playing a good tactical match and getting not quite what they wanted, but a point is better than nothing. United will need to start finding their feet, and finding some goals as the last two matches against Stoke City and Liverpool resulted in one goal being scored, and that, with the wealth of attacking talent at the club, is not good enough. Mourinho will be looking to solve the problems, as with his squad of players. During his press conference on Wednesday afternoon, he confirmed that Luke Shaw would start the match, but refused to reveal any more information. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back from injury and it was revealed that the Portuguese manager may not rotate his side massively.

United have faced Fenerbahce four times, albeit in the UEFA Champions League, winning twice and losing twice; one of those matches the 6-2 thrashing which unveiled an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney to the Theatre of Dreams, scoring a hat-trick on his debut. The Turkish side may not have had a great start to their season, sitting ninth in the Süper Lig, but Mourinho stated that he was not going to take that for granted, which should be the case as Fenerbahçe are unbeaten in the Europa League this season. This alone should be something that United need to concentrate on, ensure that by the time the match is over, Fenerbahçe have been defeated in the Europa League this season, with another encounter in a fortnight’s time. Mourinho will want to keep his current undefeated form in all competitions, especially with the big games that are coming up with Chelsea and Manchester City on the horizon.

United have a great group of players, but so far things have not worked all that well. We have seen some good games of football, the 4-1 victory over Leicester City for instance, consistency is not something that has stuck in the side, which needs to be present. It is all well and good performing, but that needs to be present week in and week out. I am sure United will get there, though. Injury has seen players missing for a few weeks with Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, two key players for the side. Phil Jones has also spent time on the sidelines, but when has he not? Shaw will play against Fenerbahçe and hopefully, Mkhitaryan will get some minutes on the pitch as it would be good to see him in the side, raring to go and hopefully finding his top form.

Manchester United Form:- DDWWW

Liverpool 0-0 D, Stoke City 1-1 D, Zorya Luhansk 1-0 W, Leicester City 4-1 W, Northampton Town 3-1 W

Manchester United played a good game against Liverpool, pegging the home side into their own area for much of the match, despite having a lesser share of possession. Liverpool were expected to rip United apart, but failed to do so, probably down to the fact Jose Mourinho had set his team to play a tactical game, something which failed against Manchester City, resulting in a 2-1 defeat, but very much worked against Liverpool, who have been on form after winning their previous five matches in all competitions. Fenerbahçe could be a different game completely. The Turkish side are not doing well in the Süper Lig, currently sitting in lowly ninth place in the league, but in Europa, the Turks are yet to be beaten having drawn their opening match against Zorya Luhansk and beaten Feyenoord.

Fenerbahçe Form:- DDWWW

Alanyaspor 1-1 D, Osmanlıspor 1-1 D, Feyenoord 1-0 W, Gaziantepspor 2-1 W, Kasımpaşa 5-1 W

Fenerbahçe are a team playing well in tournaments, yet underachieving in their own league. Having draw and won their first two matches in the UEFA Europa League this season, they are yet to be beaten, which could happen against Manchester United. Sitting ninth in the Süper Lig this season, there is a lot to do back home to better their position, but in Europe, they could be heading for a place in the knockout stages, should they maintain their run. The double-header against United (20th October and the 3rd November) could set the men from the boys as two defeats will change their fortunes considerable. The return of Robin van Persie to Old Trafford will be applauded, but the fact he’s only scored one goal this season may be a sign that he is not quite the player he once was.

Manchester United Top Scorers:

6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Juan Mata, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling

Fenerbahçe Top Scorers:

6 – Emmanuel Emenike, 3 – Miroslav Stoch, 2 – Josef de Souza, Ozan Tufan, Simon Kjær, 1 – Aatif Chahechouhe, Alper Potuk, Fernandão, İsmail Köybaşı, Mehmet Topal, Moussa Sow, Robin van Persie

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Phil Jones (knee)

Fenerbahçe Squad:

Manager: Dick Advocaat

Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel, Ertuğrul Taşkıran, Fabiano

Defenders: Hasan Ali Kaldırım, Simon Kjær, Şener Özbayraklı, Savaş Polat, İsmail Köybaşı, Gregory van der Wiel, Roman Neustädter, Martin Škrtel

Midfielders: Mehmet Topal, Souza, Alper Potuk, Ozan Tufan, Volkan Şen, Ramazan Civelek, Muhammed Karakoç, Ahmethan Köse, Salih Uçan, Jeremain Lens, Miroslav Stoch

Forwards: Robin van Persie, Moussa Sow, Emmanuel Emenike, Caner Koca

Injuries and Suspensions: N/A

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 2-1 Fenerbahçe

Jose Mourinho does not have ‘untouchable’ players

Jose Mourinho sat down with the media ahead of the UEFA Europa League clash with Turkish giants Fenerbahce at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. United sit in third place in their group after two matches, a defeat to Feyenoord and a win over Zorya Luhansk. United will need to beat Fenerbahce in order to better their position in the group, with Feyenoord expected to beat the Ukrainian side, cementing their lead in the group. Fenerbahce currently tops the group with four points after a win and a draw in their first two matches. United were in action on Monday night, not giving a lot of rest between matches, but Mourinho will be expected to rotate his side considerably, especially with Chelsea on the horizon on Sunday, which will be another big match, especially after the draw at Anfield on Monday evening, which saw United frustrate the home side, taking an important point back to Old Trafford. Here are the main points from the press conference.

Jose Mourinho on the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield on Monday night:

“We didn’t get the result we wanted. We wanted to win and we only got a point so we were not 100% successful and I think you are very fair with Liverpool because Liverpool had a fantastic defensive performance. 

“For the first time they played with two defensive midfielders and took a striker off to play another midfielder. The 0-0 result was because two teams were very good defensively.”

Mourinho on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has been injured in recent weeks and is now fit:

“Mkhitaryan was injured, he is not injured any more and is training without any limitations. 

“I cannot confirm if he will play tomorrow but he is fit and it is time for him to go back to the levels we know he can achieve.”

Mourinho on Manchester United’s unbeaten run:

“We are in a period now with five matches unbeaten. The players are fine; I don’t think it’s especially because of this match, I think it’s because of the atmosphere we have, the belief we have. We know the process, we know the difficulties, we know where we are, the championship where we are and the opposition we have.”

Mourinho on Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

“I am really happy. He is giving us exactly what we need from him, what we expect from him. 

“He is fit and always ready to play. The young guys look up to him and that’s great because he can only influence them positively.”

Mourinho not taking much notice of Fenerbahce’s start in the Süper Lig this season:

“They will be where they have to be at the end of the season. The Turkish league is getting better and better, with teams outside Istanbul coming through, but Fenerbahce will be where they need to be. I look to the manager and I see experience, I look to the players and I see quality.”

Mourinho on the strong team needed to get the result needed for Manchester United:

“Tomorrow we will play with a team that has a chance to win and if we do not play with a team that is not good or strong we don’t have a chance. We have to play with a good team knowing that two days’ later we have to play in the Premier League. I don’t want to give you the team. The only one who plays is Luke Shaw who is coming here after.”

Mourinho on Marcus Rashford playing for England U21’s next summer:

“The reports didn’t arrive at my office! So we don’t know. 

“We are in mid-October. The Championships would be in the summer and we will wait and see what happens. If the player becomes a regular in the senior national team, development in the U21’s makes no sense. 

“If he is an U21 player then he is an U21 player and there is no discussion. If he becomes a regular choice for [Gareth] Southgate then we have to speak.”

Mourinho on Fenerbahce:

“It’s a big team and a difficult opponent. Tomorrow we are going to play with a team that has chances to win and if we play with a team that is not good and strong, we don’t have a chance. To have a chance, we have to play with a good team, knowing that two days later we have to play in the Premier League.”

Mourinho on ‘untouchable’ players whilst he was at Chelsea:

“That was 11 years ago, a different Premier League and situation. The best team by far. 

“Untouchable in our team has to be the spirit, the commitment, the pride, the commitment to the club, respect to the fans, that has to be untouchable, not players.”

Luke Shaw on his fitness:

“I had a problem with my groin from the Watford game but now I’m feeling good and ready for the game. It’s been good to rest the groin but I want to play every game and hate missing matches. I’m back now and ready to fight for my place.”

Shaw on criticism from Mourinho after the Watford defeat:

“I have said before, I’m a grown man and take what the manager said. I’m still young and need to take on board what he says and improve. I was disappointed with the result but not what the manager said.”

Shaw on Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

“When I came in there was a few big leaders that left. But if you look at the squad we have some experienced ones as well as younger players like myself. Ibra brings a lot to the dressing room. He tells so many jokes and everyone wants to listen. It’s good for squad morale. I think it’s starting to show on the pitch that we are more together now as a team.”

Shaw on his attacking instincts:

“Our main priority is to defend. Like against Watford, I can push forward and we get exposed on the counter attack. I love to attack but our job is to prevent goals, the attackers have to score them.”

Shaw on Manchester United getting better:

“Right now we’re at the stage of getting better, but I think there’s so much more to come from everyone in the dressing room.”

Shaw on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba:

“I was excited for them to come into the squad. The experience they bring is unbelievable. When someone comes into the team everyone welcomes them and it is professional – like any normal signing. We know what they bring and they have come to win trophies.”

Shaw on Robin van Persie, who will return to Old Trafford on Thursday:

“He definitely is a threat and we know his qualities. Sometimes, even though you know what players can do, it’s hard to stop. I saw what he could do in training and games here. We’re wary of him but we’re focused on their whole team.”

Manchester United will be up for the challenge of Fenerbahce on Thursday night at Old Trafford. The return of Robin van Persie will be a big threat, as United know what he is capable of, despite only scoring once this season. Jose Mourinho has stated that none of his players are undroppable, which suggests that like Wayne Rooney, the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have the axe wielded at any time, which may keep them on their toes and bring out their best form. I am sure the media will conspire to suggest such things will be done and the players will not be happy, but I am sure that will be different, should it happen.

Tactical Preview: Manchester United out to overcome Fenerbahce after Anfield disappointment?

Manchester United look to capitalise on a strong showing against Liverpool when they come up against a familiar face in Robin van Persie as United play Fenerbahce in the Europa League. United stand third on three points in the group after their win against Zorya Luhansk in the second round, whereas Fenerbahce sits top, gaining four points from their opening two games. United will feel much more confident going into the game after a solid team performance shutting down a strong Liverpool side on Monday night but also due to the fact that Fenerbahce are struggling in their domestic competition, currently in ninth place.

Under former Sunderland and Russia head coach Dick Advocaat, Fenerbahce have endured a tough start but remain unbeaten in the Europa League beating Feyenoord, who beat United 1-0 in Holland, and drew with Zorya Luhansk in the opening round. They, like United, favour the 4-2-3-1 formation but have been known to switch to 4-4-2 to allow both Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Emenike to start in their favoured position. Their problem hasn’t been scoring goals however as they’ve scored 12 in their opening seven league fixtures, its been keeping them out that’s troubled them conceding nine in seven games. The two centre-backs who are likely to start against United are Martin Skrtel and Simon Kjaer. We all know Martin Skrtel, the former Liverpool centre-back was never short of attention during his time in the Premier League, throwing his weight about and being strong in a tackle but can be exposed easily with pace in behind as Anthony Martial exposed to great effect on his debut v Liverpool last season. Simon Kjaer is another physical player United’s striker will have to contend with but like Skrtel can be and has been exposed as he lacks pace, Marcus Rashford, Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial will love playing against these two if they game some game time. Their strength lies in set-pieces at both ends, five of their 12 goals have come directly from them and having only conceded once all season.

Fenerbahce Set-Piece Goals [Squawka]

Fenerbahce Set-Piece Goals [Squawka]

I doubt we’ll see many surprises from Manchester United on Thursday but there will be changes to the starting eleven with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Club captain Wayne Rooney is likely to start and might well start as a number nine after only getting 15 minutes against Liverpool. This would mean Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic get a rest and could well give Rooney a bit of confidence. Juan Mata and Luke Shaw are likely to be restored to the line up, Shaw just coming back from injury will need the game time and Mata who has had a good start to the season was an unused sub against Liverpool. I’d expect United to keep the same formation 4-5-1 with potentially Schneiderlin and Carrick holding, Mata at number 10 and Rooney as the lone striker. Carrick and Schneiderlin haven’t featured much for United this season and could start against Fenerbahce on Thursday but Schneiderlin has just recovered from a niggle that kept him out of the Liverpool game so might not feature from the start. As United are at home and not against as strong an opportunity they will bomb forward, they will look to do more in the final 3rd and sit back less. Whoever plays wide, could be Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Memphis or Young, will need to do a lot to create opportunities for Rooney but they will have the time and space to do so. Fenerbahce will sit back and look to get a draw or sneak it on the counter attack so United will have to be weary of that and their aerial threat at set-plays.

Key Battles

Robin van Persie v Chris Smalling

Both these players will know each other rather well having played three seasons together at United but only one will come out on top on Thursday. Smalling will need to match RVP in the air and keep an eye out for his trade-mark runs in behind. Van Persie has the added bonus of his set piece taking ability but I expect Smalling to come out on top tomorrow with Van Persie likely to be isolated up front for most of the game.

Memphis Depay v Gregory Van der Wiel

Memphis Depay is unbelievably keen for game time, he’s looked okay when he’s made a few substitute appearances but he needs a positive game to really kick-start his season. Van der Wiel is an experienced right-back having featured a lot for Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League campaigns. If Memphis can get the better of the experienced right-back then United will be creating chances all night long but if we see the negative side of Manchester United’s number seven, then it’ll be a long night.

Alper Potuk/Jeremain Lens v Luke Shaw

Whether its Alper Potuk or Jeremain Lens who starts on the right hand side, Luke Shaw will have to be on his toes. Both men are quick and love to get forward. There is a lot of competition in the Fenerbahce team in terms of attackers so they’ll be keen to impress Advocaat against a strong United side and Luke Shaw. Shaw will need to support attacks with his pace and link-up play but Fenerbahce will look to counter with Potuk/Lens and if Shaw can’t back with the attackers, United will struggle to keep a clean sheet.

copyright: JW