Jose Mourinho has shown in his last two big matches that he can deliver on tactical master plans. He needs another on Tuesday when Manchester United welcome Sevilla to Old Trafford in their second leg round of 16 clash.
The first leg ended 0-0 – a match in which United appeared docile but escaped with a draw courtesy of some fantastic saves from David De Gea.
All that is needed to march into the quarterfinal is a one-goal win or any score that has a goal advantage. United will likely deliver that result under the astute preparation of Mourinho coupled with Sevilla’s form, which has been poor of late.
Mourinho confirmed this thinking at the pre-match press conference. “We don’t have to win three, four, five, we have to win 1-0, 2-1, 5-4, 8-7. Not to win would be a disappointment.”
The Portuguese coach has already won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan. Although he wants to win with Manchester United, he said his thought is on Sevilla on Tuesday.
“When a team reaches the last eight, anything is possible. Now I have only one name in my mind – Sevilla – I know it’s very difficult to go through.”
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Sevilla are on a bad run but they are a team made up of good players and if they play to their absolute best will test United on Tuesday. Stats show they have both scored 12 goals in the UCL this season. To buttress that confidence the club wrote on Twitter, “See you soon, Old Trafford… We’re bringing everything we’ve got.”
The manager of the Spanish team, fifth on La Liga table, Vincenzo Montella, believes his team can stop United despite Mourinho’s team enjoying a superb recent run. “I am not frustrated about the first leg. We played an excellent match.
“We have to play 180 minutes so we have another chance tomorrow. We know Man. United have beaten Liverpool, Chelsea and come back against Palace – they’re on a good run. We hope to stop that run tomorrow.”
They will need more than that if they will get the better of Mourinho’s plans.
Paul Pogba did not train on Monday morning with his United teammates, which could mean Scott McTominay continues in the middle with Nemanja Matic even though Mourinho revealed at the press conference, “We don’t know yet [whether Pogba would play]. He trained a little bit after you left.”
Current Form: Man Utd [W-W-W-D-W]; Sevilla [L-W-W-L-D]
Head to head
21/02/18 UCL Sevilla 0 – 0 Man Utd
09/08/13 CLF Man Utd 1 – 3 Sevilla
Words before the War
“Tomorrow’s a very difficult match. We’re playing against a team that didn’t lose against Liverpool home and away, scored goals against Liverpool, drew against Liverpool – and they [Liverpool] are a very good team, so it says Sevilla are a really good team.” – Jose Mourinho, Manchester United manager.
“We have to play according to what situations arise tomorrow. There will be moments we have to defend, and others where we have to attack – and moments to slow the game down and moments to speed it up.” – Vincenzo Montella, Sevilla manager