Manchester United were handed an unexpected boost before their Europa League match against FC Sheriff on Thursday night after manager Stjepan Tomas resigned unexpectedly on Tuesday.
The Moldovan side suffered their first league defeat of the campaign, losing 1-0 to FC Petrocub over the weekend, and despite still being six points clear at the summit Tomas felt the need to step down.
Sheriff currently sit third in the Europa League group and anything other than a victory would see them unable to qualify from the group stage.
Speaking after the league defeat, Tomas blamed himself and claimed the upcoming game against United was playing heavily on the players’ minds.
‘It seems the players were thinking about the match in Manchester, there was no concentration. This is my mistake,’ he said.
FC Sheriff have only been a club since 1997 and no doubt this United game is one of the biggest games of their short career, although the team are no stranger to upsets, having beat Real Madrid in the Champions League in the 2021/22 season.
Tomas himself had only been in charge at the club for four months and a club statement praised the Croatian manager for his ‘contribution to the development of the club and its promotion in the international arena’.
Bizarrely this is the second manager in United’s Europa League group to have now left their post, with Omonia Nicosia sacking Neil Lennon last week.
This latest managerial change means whoever takes charge for the United game will have just two days to prepare and set the team up.
United beat the Moldovan side 0-2 in the away fixture with Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo bagging the goals.
With United still second in the group a win is imperative to keep the pressure on group leaders Real Sociedad.
United are due to take on the Spanish side next Thursday.
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