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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;

 Rooney

Substitutes:

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

copyright: JW