Football

Young: We will get the job done

Man United riding high on confidence after win over Chelsea as they eye semi-final spot

QUARTER-FINAL, 2ND LEG
MAN UNITED ANDERLECHT
  • Teams tied at 1-1

Ashley Young feels Manchester United's stunning victory over Chelsea set a benchmark ahead of their Europa League quarter-final, second-leg tie against Anderlecht tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

United revitalised their season and blew open the Premier League title race by sinking leaders Chelsea 2-0 last Sunday in a tactical masterclass by manager Jose Mourinho.

Despite dominating last week's first leg against Anderlecht, United returned from Brussels with a 1-1 draw, but Young says they have no doubts about their ability to finish the job.

"We have felt that kind of performance coming," said the versatile England international, United's captain against Chelsea.

"There have been a lot of draws at home. I don't think a lot of people saw that scoreline coming or the type of game, to be honest. We did.

"We have belief in ourselves. I have confidence in every single player in the squad.

"Hopefully, we have a semi-final coming up. If we can play like we did against Chelsea, then I am sure we can get through against Anderlecht and into the semi-finals."

United's win over Chelsea enhanced their chances of securing a top-four finish in the league, leaving them four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand.

But, whereas the path to a Champions League berth via the league remains steep, should they overcome Anderlecht, United will be just three games from securing qualification by winning the Europa League.

United are bidding to become only the fifth club - after Juventus, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Chelsea - to have won all three of Europe's major cup competitions.

They lifted the European Cup in 1968, 1999 and 2008 and the now-defunct European Cup Winners' Cup in 1991, but have never previously gone beyond the last eight in the Europa League (formerly the Uefa Cup).

United are unbeaten in 16 European home games and have won all three of their previous home games against Anderlecht, including a club-record 10-0 rout in September 1956.

Relegated to the bench against Chelsea, top-scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Michael Carrick and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all expected to return to United's starting 11 against Anderlecht.

Mkhitaryan's 37th-minute strike at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium last week looked set to win the match for United, only for Leander Dendoncker's header to draw Anderlecht level four minutes from time.

While Anderlecht's Swiss coach Rene Weiler acknowledged United's general superiority, he said Dendoncker's goal would give them belief for the trip to Old Trafford.

"It was difficult for us in the first half. Manchester United were really strong and very impressive," he said.

"We played better in the second half and higher up the pitch.

"We kept pushing because we knew we could equalise. That goal gives us extra motivation." - AFP

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