Manchester United’s players and management can’t afford to dwell on the Manchester City win, as good a moment as it was.
There is plenty of work to be done and this week an unknown threat is waiting to derail United’s good run.
The Red Devils are in excellent form, unbeaten since mid-January and conceding only two goals in the last 10 matches.
This Thursday, United’s Europa League adventure continues in a relatively unknown venue, at LASK’s TGW Arena in the Austrian city of Linz.
It is the first leg of a Europa League last 16 tie, and one United are heavily favoured to win.
This is where the danger comes in
LASK will have been heavily eyeing this game from the moment the draw was made.
With all due respect, the LASK tie is just another game in United’s never ending season.
The Europa League is a big priority, but there is also a delicate balancing act in terms of team selection.
United visit Tottenham at the weekend in a crucial Premier League fixture.
As we saw away against Club Brugge, ahead of a home tie with Watford, United will rotate. Looking back, United probably made too many changes, six in total.
We got away with it that night, battling to a 1-1 draw, but Brugge had their chances to win the game.
LASK top their domestic division with 50 goals scored in 22 matches, and have only conceded 20 goals.
They came through their group, knocking out PSV Eindhoven in the process, and saw off AZ Alkmaar in the last round.
A win is expected
United are expected to do a professional job out in Austria. Get an away goal, ideally get a win, and make the tie at Old Trafford a formality.
Suffer a shock defeat, and the recent progress and momentum picks up an unwanted dent ahead of this weekend’s critical Premier League game.
After last season’s ‘big result’ away at PSG, United lost focus. Hopefully lessons have been learned after that, which can be applied among the squad after this positive result against City.
Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial are among the players who could be rested with an eye on Sunday’s fixture.
So long as United do not totally underestimate the Austrians and approach the game with the same preparation we do for the Tottenham fixture, we should have enough to come away with a win.
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