Rio Ferdinand has pointed towards how crucial Manchester United’s experienced players will be for success in the Europa League this season.
Man United take on St.Etienne on Thursday at Old Trafford in the first leg of the round of 32 before travelling to France next week for the return fixture and while this competition was previously seen as a real inconvenience to some teams, the added bonus of the winner qualifying for the UEFA Champions League has added a lure this season.
As well as the Europa League, United are in the League Cup final on 26 February against Southampton and also in the FA Cup also so Mourinho will need all of his squad, including the senior players, in good form to get through in all competitions during a very busy period for the club.
Speaking about United’s squad, Ferdinand said: “They’ve got the squad and the experience to win the Europa League. Schweinsteiger has been added to the squad so they’ve got the people who know how to handle the big games and the big occasions.
“Ibrahimovic, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Carrick, Rooney – these guys have played in big games and have won silverware. They’ve got the personnel – it’s about going out and producing.”
You can look at Wolfsburg away under Louis van Gaal when we were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stages as a prime example of a game where we lacked leadership and experience. United can ill afford to play that naively against St.Etienne if we do want to progress.
And United should want to win the competition. What’s the point in getting through to this stage if you don’t want to push on to try and win it? There isn’t one and I know Mourinho will share that mentality. United have never won the Europa League, why not break that record this season?
We’ve certainly got plenty of experienced players this season who can bring something to the table such as Mkhitaryan or Pogba who have both played in UEFA Champions League finals as well as Rooney and Carrick. There’s enough quality to go through comfortably if we play to our own ability, we’ll find out on Thursday if Mourinho’s side can do just that.