Watching Real Betis lose 5-3 to Real Madrid on Sunday night – a truly superb game – sent a chill up my spine ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Sevilla on Wednesday.
The hosts were ultimately brushed aside by Madrid’s efficiency but the ebullience and ferociousness with which the hosts streamed forward served as a warning to any supporter who thought travelling to the fifth placed La Liga side would be easy.
It will be a furiously paced affair, unbelievably noisy, played on a tight pitch, and slightly alien to some players. This will need to be a project of containment first and domination second.
And with that in mind, here is a potential XI for the visit to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium with Alexis Sanchez operating at No.10 in a three at the back system.
The idea of a flat back four in the face of a precise and rapid Sevilla attack doesn’t appeal too much. You can just imagine Chris Smalling getting twisted in all sorts of knots, can’t you?
That is why Mourinho needs to opt for the same approach which served him so well against Arsenal back in November, giving further support to Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic in the middle whilst providing a potential springboard for Sanchez, who claimed another assist over the weekend, to replicate Madrid and launch cut-throat counter-attacks in search of a crucial away goal.