Looking back at Manchester United's last Europa League game in Holland

Manchester United are in Holland preparing for tonight’s game with AZ Alkmaar.

With Alkmaar sitting in third place in the Eredivisie and high in confidence, it will be a battle to get three points.

United’s last match in Holland did not end well. It was in September 2016 and was the first away tie of the Europa League group stages.

Photo by VI Images via Getty Images

United lost the game away to Feyenoord 1-0 conceding a second half goal by Tony Vilhena.

Of the players who featured for United in that defeat, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Marcos Rojo could start tonight.

Stagnation

There is not much between this 2016 team and the current side. At present our defence is improved, that is very obvious with Harry Magure and Aaron Wan-Bissaka added this summer.

The rest seems like there has not been much progress in terms of overall quality, and tonight we will be without Paul Pogba who is injured. United as a whole have stagnated since. Our Premier League position shows we have got worse.

Back in 2017 we had the luxury of having Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench of course, but even he couldn’t prevent a 1-0 defeat.

The depth of the squad then was far stronger, with Memphis Depay and Michael Carrick also among the substitutes, while Wayne Rooney did not travel.

Photo by Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho paid for risking Pogba in the tie, with the Frenchman disappointing days later in a Premier League defeat away to Watford.

United did bounce back, going on to win the 2016/17 Europa League, but this game signalled the end of our Premier League challenge that season at an early stage, following a defeat to City.

This weekend United follow up the game against Alkmaar with a trip to Newcastle United. That will be a lot easier if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side can return from Holland with a victory.

We are in rebuild mode right now, we get it, but looking back at the team which last played in Holland for United, it is quite sad to look back and consider that six transfer windows later, this current team is not clearly better. What a wasted opportunity.

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