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MOTM: Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial and Daley Blind in contention against Benfica

Manchester United were victorious over Benfica at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, winning the match 2-0. It was the fourth match of the Champions League group stage, United winning all four matches and sitting just a point away from a place in the Round of 16. Anthony Martial won a penalty in the 14th minute of the match, Mile Svilar saving his attempt a minute later. It looked to be one of those matches for United.

With chances at either end, both goalkeepers making the effort to deny their opposition, it looked ot be a 0-0 draw with the firat half coming to a close, if not for Nemanja Matic. The Serbian midfielder unleashed a thnderous attempt at goal in the final seconds of the half, striking the post but the ball deflected into the bacl of the diving Svilar and into the back of the net. After saving Martial penalty, the Belgian goalkeeper would have gained some confidence after his horror from the match a fortnight ago.

Svilar had now made cost his side a goal in both matches, this one being a fluke. United were 1-0 going into the break. In the second half, Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced Jesse Lingard, who received a knock in the first half, then Ander Herrera replaced Juan Mata with Marcus Rashford replacing Martial. It was Rashford who helped United get a second goal, earning a penalty in the 78th minute whic Romelu Lukaku wanted to take, Herrera then stepping up only to be cast aside by Daley Blind, who scored from the spot.

United could have been in the knockout stages this evening but Basel fell to CSKA Moscow in Switzerland, meaning United need at least a point from their next two matches to secure their place in the Round of 16 in the competition. There were a few good signs from this United side, who lack the creativity of Paul Pogba, the leadership and winning mentalioty of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the physicality of Marouane Fellaini at this moment in time. The contenders for Man of the Match were as follows;

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Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder had a great night in Manchester whilst his former club Chelsea had a night to forget in Rome. Matic is my Man of the Match, but Anthony Martial was given the award by his club. Matic had one shot on goal, his thunderous strike on goal which forced Mile Svilar to score an own goal, putting United in control in the final seconds of the first half. His passing was great with 88% reaching a teammate, keeping United dominant with the ball, despite the possession being split 50/50. Matic won a third of his tackles,  also making a block on the edge of the United box. His signing in the summer could be the difference between United winning something or nothing this season.

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Anthony Martial

The Frenchman may have missed a penalty in the 15th minute of the match but he certainly put the effort into getting the result for his club. Martial had three shots on goal, one attempt saved, the other two off target, also having a 79% pass success rate. Martial created two chances, also putting two crosses into the box; one unsuccessful. The former AS Monaco winger had five takeons, winning three, also winning half of his tackled and all of his aerial duels. It was a performance of a player destined to claim something this season. It does make you wonder what a team consisting of Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford would achieve.

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Daley Blind

The Dutch defender played well but may not be the long-term answer to United left-back position. His passing was top notch with 88% of is passes reaching a teammate. He had one shot on goal, which was on target and resulted in a goal, albeit from the penalty spot. Blind created two chances, neither was converted into a goal. He made five crosses, one a key pass, another met a teammate, but three failed. He won half of his aerial duels, only two were attempted though. Blind made six clearances and six interceptions as United took charge of their group.

Conclusion

United played well, despite being unable to score a goal themselves in regular play.The own goal by Svilar may have been forced, but Matic will not be able to claim it, hitting the post with his effort. Martial was unlucky with his penalty in the first half, but United were able to double their lead from the spot in the second half, with attemots to score being thwarted, not that much was being created. Nemanja Matic is my Man of the Match, althouth I will not ignore the play from Martial. With Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini missing from Jose Mourinho’s side, creativity and other ingrediants are missing and with the trio’s return, things should get better.

Ratings: Nemanja Matic the player with the plaudits against Benfica

Manchester United beat Benfica 2-0 at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. It could have been a night which saw United enter the knockout stages of the tournament, but CSKA Moscow defeated Basel 2-1 in Switzerland, which means United need at least a point from their next two matches to earn a place in the last 16.

United won a penalty in the 14th minute of the match, Anthony Martial stepped up to take it with Mile Svilar saving it, giving himself a confidence boost after the calamitous free-kick he carried into his own net a fortnight ago. United had a few chances to find a goal after the penalty, not able to do so.

In the last minute of the first half, Nemanja Matic sent a thundering strike towards goal, hitting the post and the deflection coming off Svilar’s back and putting United 1-0 up. It would be safe to say Svilar does not like playing against United.

In the second half, United had many chances. Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced Jesse Lingard after he received a knock in the first half, Ander Herrera then replaced Juan Mata with Marcus Rashford being the final substitution, Martial coming off.

Minutes after Rashford came on, he won a second penalty of the evening for United. Romelu Lukaku stepped up to take it, then Herrera took the lead with Daley Blind eventually pulling rank and slotting his attempt home to put United 2-0 with twelve minutes remaining.

David De Gea made a few saves against Benfica, proving just how crucial he is to United, keeping them in the game in the early stages of the match. United have now played four Champions League matches, winning all four also setting a new home record, willing the last 38 home matches in all competitions, winning 27 and drawing eleven.

United will face Chelsea, who lost 3-0 to Roma on Tuesday evening, in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before the final international break of 2017. United will travel to Basel in the Champions League on the 22nd November seeking to confirm their place in the Round of 16 in the competition.

Goals: Mile Svilar 45′ own goal, Daley Blind 78′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Matic, McTominay; Mata (Herrera 68′), Lingard (Mkhitaryan 46′), Martial (Rashford 75′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Shaw; Young

Bookings: Eric Bailly 24′, Jesse Lingard 27′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper had a good game. Made some crucial saves, some not so crucial. Showed how good he is and how crucial he is to the Manchester United cause.

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Matteo Darmian

Lacked attacking threat, as would have been provided by Valencia. Made some good interventions, but that was it from the Italian.

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3 Eric Bailly

Booked early in the first half. Seemed off he pace of the game defensively. Could have conceded a debatable penalty before United won theirs. With Chelsea coming up and his lack of form, could be a problem scenario.

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Chris Smalling

Had some good movement in defence but on the left he was pretty much exposed at times. Did what he needed to do to ensure the clean sheet though.

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17 Daley Blind

Not sure the left-back role is one for Blind. Seems much better in midfield or central defence, maybe in a back three also. Scored the penalty to put United 2-0 and cruising into the knockout stages.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Man of the Match for me. Dictated play, upped the tempo of the match when it needed to be done. Led from his midfield position. Forced Svilar to score an own gtom from his thunderous strike, which hit the post, then deflected in off the back of the keeper.

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39 Scott McTominay

McTominay really did not get involved in the match, but for a plauer of his stature and the fact he has not really played many matches for his club because of injury and growth issues, he has come a long way and seems to be a player earning the trust of the manager.

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8 Juan Mata

Not sure he really got a grasp on the game but seemed to have the ideas. Could be becmong surplus to requirements at this stage of his career - unless he finds some match winning form we know he is capable of.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Received a knock in the first half and was booked for entering the pitch without permission, but played until the break. Did not have the best of performances, but helped United take control, despite seeking a goal for the entire first half, getting luck with Svilar's own goal.

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9 Anthony Martial

Had the run of Benfica and got plenty of chances to put United ahead. Missed from the spot in the 15th minute of the match but had a good performance other than that. Was replaced by Rashford.

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Romelu Lukaku

Played an unselfish game against Benfica. Had the chance to score but failed to do so. Had not scored for United in their last six mates, last scoring for Belgium during the last international break.

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Substitutes

22 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Replaced Lingard. Played well but did not really get himself into the game much. Lingard received a knock in the first half and the Armenian had to be called upon.

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21 Ander Herrera

Replaced Mata. Did what he needed to do. Tried to take the penalty from Lukaku, but saw it go to Blind.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Martial. Won a penalty for United almost as soon as he came on. Pressured Benfica's defence.

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Report: Manchester United beat Benfica 2-0 with a shocking own goal and two penalties awarded

Manchester United looked to be cruising into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with two games to spare after defeating Benfica 2-0 at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. Anthony Martial missed his penalty in the 15th minute of the match but just before half time, Nemanja Matic aimed to score the first goal of the evening, striking the post with Mile Svilar diving to get the ball, the deflection coming ff the post hitting his back and United going 1-0 up.

United sealed the victory from the spot after Marcus Rashford, a later substitute, won a second penalty in the 78th minute, Romelu Lukaku stepping up to take it, Ander Herrera forcing his way to the spot, then Daley Blind taking over, the Dutchman scoring his first goal since Boxing Day, putting United into the driving seat in the victory.

Jose Mourinho made six changes to his side which faced Benfica at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League this evening. Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial replacing Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford.

United started the game well, quickly gaining possession and aiming to take the lead. Anthony Martial took a free-kick for United, just outside the Benfica box but his shot was well over the crossbar. United did win a penalty in the 14th minute with Martial taking it, but Mile Svilar thwarting the Frenchman, diving the right was and gaining some confidence from the horror free-kick a fortnight ago.

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In the 18th minute, Benfica had a chance of their own through Goncalves but David De Gea made a superb save to thwart the Portuguese side from taking the lead. United wanted another penalty for a challenge on Juan Mata midway through the first half, nothing was given but Eric Bailly was booked for a challenge on Alex Grimaldo seconds later by the Lithuanian referee.

Jesse Lingard was booked for entering the field of play without permission after needing treatment after a clash with a Benfica player. It seems like Benfica were getting the decisions in their favour. Daley Blind was down in the 28th minute of the match after receiving a knock to the face but he was up and playing again within a minute.

Romelu Lukaku had the chance to put United ahead in the 31st minute of the match, heading his effort narrowly over after Martial made a pin-point cross to him. Anthony Martial had a good first half with some of the runs he made. In the 38th minute, the Frenchman broke forward but was unable to keep the ball in play to cause any damage to the scoreline.

Three minutes before the end of the half Martial again had the chance to gain something for United, his shot firing high and wide from a tight angle. United won a corner in the 43rd minute of the match with Blind taking the kick, coming to nothing other than a free-kick for Benfica.

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United took the lead in the 45th minute of the match after Nemanja Matic thundered his effort towards goal, hitting the post and the ball deflecting into a diving Svilar, hitting his back and crossing the line. Unlucky for the Belgian goalkeeper. A minute or so later, Lukaku was through with the ball, seeking a goal of his own but Svilar regaining his composure and thwarting his compatriot.

United went into the break a goal to the good and in good stead to make the knockout stages of the Champions League with Basel 1-0 to the good at home to CSKA Moscow with both games at the half time stage.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made his first change with Henrikh Mkhitaryan replacing Lingard, who took a knock in the first half. Six minutes into the second half Juan Mata had a chance to double United’s lead but his effort was over the crossbar. Benfica had an attempt five minutes later, De Gea thwarting the effort with a diving save, not that the shot threatened the Spaniard’s goal.

Goncalves had an effort on the hour, breaking past Smalling and striking towards goal. De Gea, diving to the right stopped the effort from costing him his clean sheet, this far at least. In the 64th minute fo the match, Benfica made their first change with Eliseu replacing Grimaldo.

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United nearly conceded a goal, just as CSKA Moscow scored in Switzerland, levelling the score to 1-1 against Basel, with Bailly making a defensive error but Raul Jimenez’s effort hitting the post and seeing United breathe a sigh of relief. Mourinho made his second change in the 68th minute of the match with Ander Herrera replacing Mata.

In the 74th minute, Benfica made their second change with Haris Seferovic replacing Jimenez with Mourinho making his third and final change moments later with birthday boy Marcus Rashford replacing Martial in the 75th minute. United won their asecond penalty through Rashford almost immediately after he came on. Lukaku seemed to be taking it, Herrera then pulled rank with Blind deciding to take it, scoring United’s second goal of the evening.

Benfica made their third and final change in the 79th minute with Jonas replacing Pizzi as the Portuguese side looked to get something from this game, still without a point in the group. David De Gea made another save of the evening in the 89th minute, showing why he is crucial to United’s season.

CSKA Moscow went 2-1 up in Switzerland with eleven minutes of the match remaining, eventually winning, meaning United will not qualify for the knockout stages this evening, still needing at least a point from their next two matches, next up Basel away on the 22nd November 2017. Chelsea up next for United before heading into the final international break of 2017.

Goals: Mile Svilar 45′ own goal, Daley Blind 78′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Matic, McTominay; Mata (Herrera 68′), Lingard (Mkhitaryan 46′), Martial (Rashford 75′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Shaw; Young

Bookings: Eric Bailly 24′, Jesse Lingard 27′

Confirmed Starting XI: Lukaku leads the line; McTominay handed a start against Benfica

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho made six changes to his side which will face Benfica at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League this evening. Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial replacing Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford.

On Saturday, United beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the Premier League, keeping the club in second place in the league, just five points adrift of Manchester City. In the Champions League this season, United have played three matches, winning all three, beating Benfica in Lisbon two weeks ago.

A victory over Benfica tonight will see the club earn a place in the knockout stage of the tournament. The match is televised live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and will kick off at 19:45 GMT.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Blind;

Matic, McTominay;

Mata, Lingard, Martial;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Lindelof, Shaw; Young, Herrera, Mkhitaryan; Rashford

United and Benfica have gone head to head on a number of occasions before with United only being beat once by the Portuguese side, back in 2005. This match will be the eleventh time the two sides have faced each other with United winning seven times, including the European Cup final in 1968, ten years after the Munich Air Disaster, also drawing twice.

United will be pushing for a victory tonight at the Theatre of Dreams, ensuring the club will be in the knockout stages, meaning they have two matches to spare, which Mourinho could use to give some youth and fringe players a run out in the team like Sir Alex Ferguson used to do.

Report: Manchester United take three points in Lisbon with spectacular Marcus Rashford goal

Manchester United beat Benfica 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League in Lisbon on Wednesday evening with a spectacular goal scored by Marcus Rashford from a free-kick, the ball crossing the line and seemingly carried by Mile Svilar, the Benfica goalkeeper. Rashford was injured minutes after the goal, which could be a big blow for Jose Mourinho’s United as the likes of Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all sit on the sidelines.

Jose Mourinho fielded a strong side against Benfica after the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at the weekend. Victor Lindelof, Daley Blind, and Juan Mata all returned to the starting XI in Lisbon. United did not start all that well with Benfica controlling the game and getting their plan into place, winless in two Champions League matches so far this season. In the 15th minute, Salvio had the first credible chance of the match with Grimaldo setting him up, the shot wide of the target. Romelu Lukaku had a chance, heading the ball against the crossbar, but a foul on Svilar was awarded to the hosts.

In the 28th minute of the match, with Benfica still aiming to dominate, just as Liverpool did at the weekend, Diogo Goncalves hit his effort, which was deflected and comfortably gathered by David De Gea, the guy who could be the difference between a point and a victory for United in any match. In the 32nd minute, Blind put in a cross from the left, into the box to Rashford, whose effort looped over the crossbar. Thirty-six minutes into the match and Matic had an effort after a surging run which was kept out by Svilar. United seem to have lost their momentum after the international break with injuries taking their toll on the team.

In the 41st minute, United saw their first booking with Antonio Valencia shown the yellow card for a foul on Jimenez, who made a meal of the challenge. After the free-kick, United broke forward with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the ball but his effort was poor and United were still chasing the game. A minute was added at the end of the first half, with the gale still level at 0-0. The next 45 minutes would separate the men from the boys, but both sides will have to put a lot of effort in for either to change the game. Fatigue could be setting in for United at this early stage of the season.

At the start of the second half, neither side made a change with both seeking three points in the third group stage match in the competition this season. United made the break to find a goal to separate the two sides with Rashford putting in some work and Ander Herrera having the shot from outside of the box, which did not threaten the Benfica goalkeeper. In the fiftieth minute of the match, Rashford stung the palms of Svilar with a powerful effort, breaking forward minutes later too, unable to find a teammate in the box to threaten on goal again.

Just before the hour mark, United had been building something, gaining ground and breaking forward into Benfica’s area. Nemanja Matic had a shot from outside of the box, which was off target but something United needed to do to try and break the deadlock. Benfica made a substitution after Matic’s ambitious effort with  Zivkovic replacing Pizzi. United found the back of the net in the 65th minute in spectacular circumstances. Marcus Rashford took a free-kick from the left flank, straight towards Svilar, who caught the effort but the ball had crossed the line with the referee awarding United the goal.

Benfica made a second change in the 69th minute with Jonas replacing Goncalves, the Portuguese side seemingly seeking an equaliser after going behind and now facing the prospect of losing their first three matches in the Champions League this season. Rashford looked as if he could not continue in the 74th minute of the match, sitting on the pitch and taking his shin pads off before shaking his head. United’s injury list was about to get longer. Anthony Martial replaced the teenager in the 76th minute of the match. United seemed firmly in the driving seat after the change, Rashford’s spectacular goal seemingly winning the match for the Red Devils.

Mourinho made his second change of the evening with Jesse Lingard replacing Juan Mata in the 83rd minute of the match. United did what they needed to do in Lisbon, earning three points, seeing the Red Devils top the group after three matches. Four minutes of added time was to be played at the end of the match. Scott McTominay, making his Champions League debut, replaced Mkhitaryan in the first minute of added time. United saw out the game, which will show the job was done in Portugal. Luisao was sent off for a challenge on McTominay in the third minute of added time.

Lukaku took the free-kick, hitting the Benfica wall and not getting anything for his side, other than a throw in. It was job done for United in Lisbon, nine points out of nine with the thoughts on the trip to Huddersfield Town on Saturday in the Premier League, before heading to Swansea City next Tuesday in the Carabao Cup. Lingard was booked in the final minute of the match for a challenge. United will be seeking a place in the knockout stages in a fortnight’s time with Benfica heading to Old Trafford.

Goals: Marcus Rashford 65′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind; Matic, Herrera; Mata (Lingard 83′), Mkhitaryan (McTominay 90+1′), Rashford (Martial 76′); Lukaku

Substitutes: Romero; Jones, Darmian; Young

Bookings: Antonio Valencia 41′, Jesse Lingard 90+5′

Starting XI: Lukaku leads the line against Benfica

Manchester United have travelled to Lisbon, Portugal for their third UEFA Champions League group stage match this season. Jose Mourinho’s team have beaten both FC Basel and CSKA Moscow so far this season, earning six points out of six in the elite European competition. United will face the Portuguese side twice before the end of the month, taking on Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, and Tottenham Hotspur between the two matches. Mourinho’s side are fresh from their 0-0 draw in the Premier League against Liverpool on Saturday, which saw a frustrating United side take on their bitter rivals – Liverpool being the better side from that match, despite doing nothing to really pressure United into submission with David De Gea doing what he needed to do to ensure United kept a clean sheet.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind;

Matic, Herrera;

Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Jones, Darmian; Lingard, Young, McTominay; Martial

Manchester United and Benfica have faced each other nine times since the first encounter between the two sides on the 2nd February 1966, the year England won the World Cup. United have won six times, lost just once and drawn twice – the most recent matches between the two sides. It was six years ago when United last played Benfica, in the group stages of the Champions League, drawing 1-1 in Lisbon and also drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford. The only defeat came in 2005, United losing 2-1 in the final group stage match in the Champions League that season, Paul Scholes scoring in the sixth minute and both Geovanni and Gilberto Beto scoring the goals for the Portuguese side. United will be seeking a win in Lisbon again on Wednesday evening, taking their points tally to nine from three matches, seemingly aiming to do the business in the group by the end of the month, aiming to defeat Benfica at Old Trafford.

Preview: Injuries mount ahead of Benfica visit but Mourinho is confident of progressing from the group

SL Benfica -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League 2017/18

Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal

Wednesday 18th October 2017; KO 19:45 BST

Live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom

Manchester United have travelled to Lisbon, Portugal for their third UEFA Champions League group stage match this season. Jose Mourinho’s team have beaten both FC Basel and CSKA Moscow so far this season, earning six points out of six in the elite European competition. United will face the Portuguese side twice before the end of the month, taking on Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, and Tottenham Hotspur between the two matches. Mourinho’s side are fresh from their 0-0 draw in the Premier League against Liverpool on Saturday, which saw a frustrating United side take on their bitter rivals – Liverpool being the better side from that match, despite doing nothing to really pressure United into submission with David De Gea doing what he needed to do to ensure United kept a clean sheet.

This is an important match for United, despite the fact the Portuguese side have not won a match in the Champions League this season, their form does not matter, which is something Mourinho stated during his press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Since the 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Saturday, United have dominated in the media and social media – what a surprise! Chelsea were beaten by the worst team in the Premier League at the weekend and United are the team to talk about. This tells me that United sell newspapers and attract readers to a website. Hated, adored, never ignored. Then came the reports Mourinho was going to leave the club because he spoke about Paris Saint-Germain – the manager clarifying that he is not (yet) signing a new contract at United and is also not leaving for PSG. Mourinho, speaking in his press conference and reported by the official Manchester United website, said:

“I think you English media have the answer for that because, in one day, it says that I am going to sign a five-year contract, for £1billion per season and then, the next day, you say that I am leaving and going to Paris Saint-Germain. I think that is the answer.

“The answer is that nothing is happening. I am not signing a new five-year contract and I am not leaving for PSG. I am at Manchester United and I have a contract. And that is it.

“The only thing that I told is true and there was not a misinterpretation of my words was I am not going to end my career at Manchester United.

“I was asked how is it possible in modern football that any manager is going to last 15 to 20 years in the same club. I think Arsene Wenger is the last one at Arsenal. I think it is impossible for us with everything that surrounds the job, all of the pressures that surround the job.

“I think it is impossible to last for so long. If, in this moment, I wanted to finish my career in two, three, four or five years then I would say yes, I want to finish my career with Manchester United.

“But I think I am going to be a manager for 15 more years, minimum, in the job, and I think it is impossible to stay for 17 years in the same club. I think it is the impossible mission. Even if you want to, you can try, but I think it is impossible. Wenger is the last one. That was my answer. I don’t think I am going to end my career at Manchester United. That was my answer.

“After that, some people tried to be clever, some people tried to be malicious and they said many different things. But the reality is simple. I did not sign a new contract but I am not thinking about leaving.”

Previous Matches: Manchester United have been beaten just once by Benfica in more than 51 years since the first encounter

Manchester United and Benfica have faced each other nine times since the first encounter between the two sides on the 2nd February 1966, the year England won the World Cup. United have won six times, lost just once and drawn twice – the most recent matches between the two sides. It was six years ago when United last played Benfica, in the group stages of the Champions League, drawing 1-1 in Lisbon and also drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford. The only defeat came in 2005, United losing 2-1 in the final group stage match in the Champions League that season, Paul Scholes scoring in the sixth minute and both Geovanni and Gilberto Beto scoring the goals for the Portuguese side. United will be seeking a win in Lisbon again on Wednesday evening, taking their points tally to nine from three matches, seemingly aiming to do the business in the group by the end of the month, aiming to defeat Benfica at Old Trafford.

Form: United and Benfica share similar starts in the league this season but in Europa, Benfica are winless in two matches

Manchester United have started the season in fine fettle, taking on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, just two points behind the league leaders and noisy neighbours. United sit three points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, their opposition in a week and a half at Old Trafford. United are unbeaten in the three competitions they have played in this season, winning all but two matches, both draws, dropping four points in the league this season, conceding only two goals in eight matches, both at Stoke City. Jose Mourinho will be confident of his sides displays in the Champions League this season, especially with Benfica losing both group stage matches this season. Benfica has started similar to United this season, playing eight matches in the Portuguese league, winning all but three, two draws and a defeat. The Portuguese giants sit in third place, five points behind Mourinho’s former side, FC Porto. In the Champions League, Benfica are yet to earn a single point, losing 201 to CSKA Moscow in the opening match, then devastated in a 5-0 defeat to Basel – United have beaten both teams to have beaten the Portuguese side.

Team News: Injuries restricting Jose Mourinho’s side currently, but the future is bright with long-term injuries coming to an end

Jose Mourinho has a few problems with injury to deal with ahead of the match against Benfica with Eric Bailly returning from international duty with the Ivory Coast with an injury, missing the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at the weekend, something which could keep him out of action for the foreseeable future. Marcos Rojo travelled to Lisbon with United, which is a boost to the squad by the manager confirmed that the Argentinian who suffered a knee injury in the Europa League back in April was just training with his teammates ahead of his return, which could be within the next two weeks. Mourinho, speaking to the official Manchester United website during his pre-match press conference, said:

“Rojo is not coming to play but he is coming with the team to train today with the group. Tomorrow, individually, but he’s coming [back].

“I would say, probably in two weeks, Marcos is ready to play. There is no Bailly – he was injured in the national team.”

Predicted Starting XI: Mourinho to field a strong side to earn the points in the Champions League ahead of Huddersfield Town encounter at the weekend

Match Prediction: Manchester United to romp to victory in Lisbon!

Benfica 1-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW