Marcus Rashford has made it clear that Manchester United want to win the Europa League this season.
Jose Mourinho‘s men claimed an emphatic 4-0 aggregate win over Saint Etienne in the last 32 to set up an encounter with Russian side FC Rostov.
Rashford announced himself to the footballing world with a superb brace against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League but continues to look for his first goal in this year’s competition.
The Englishman, speaking to ManUtd.com ahead of the clash in Russia, insisted that Mourinho’s men will try to go the distance in Europe this season.
“Coming up to this stage of the competition, we know that they’ve got quality to reach that stage,” he noted, “so there are things we have to be aware of and I’m sure the manager and the staff and the players will point them out and we’ll just prepare for it like we prepare for all the games and hopefully get through.
“Whatever [competition] the club is in, we’re expected to go far and we as players put the pressure on ourselves to try to win the competitions, so for us that’s what we’ve got in mind.
“We want to win the competition and whoever we have to play against, wherever we have to travel, we want to go there and win.”
Last weekend’s draw with AFC Bournemouth added to a growing list of times this season where United, full of confidence following a series of wins, somehow failed to capitalise on an opportunity to move out of sixth spot, drawing blank after blank at a time where ruthlessness was needed more than ever. Such a malaise has plagued Mourinho’s men all season, and it could prevent them from reaching the Champions League this season.
Thankfully, the Europa League has provided United with another avenue for joining Europe’s elite next year. Just two ties and 90 minutes in Stockholm stand between Mourinho’s men and Champions League football if they get past Rostov, and when you look at the remaining sides in the competition it becomes clear that, on paper, this competition is there for the taking: Apoel Nicosia, RSC Anderlecht, FC Copenhagen, Ajax, Rostov, Celta Vigo, FK Krasnodar, Schalke, Borussia Mönchengladbach, KAA Gent, KRC Genk, Lyon, Roma, Olympiakos, Besiktas.
It should be noted that Roma and Lyon, two sides that could, on their day, provide United with plenty of problems, will face each other in the last 16, meaning that one has to go out by necessity. The Europa League has always been regarded as something of an inconvenience by supporters; this time around, however, it could be United’s best chance of Champions League football next season.