When Jose Mourinho looks back at his first season as Manchester United manager, Thursday night’s Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo will be one of the defining moments one way or another.
United’s final Premier League standing is likely to be underwhelming, but incredibly, it is still possible for the Portuguese to finish the campaign with two trophies.
Celta Vigo will be forced to go on the front foot at Old Trafford as they look to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg. That is not something they are accustomed to, having scored just once in their last five games in all competitions.
The Red Devils, meanwhile, will be tasked with closing the game out as only Mourinho knows how. We’re backing United to do it with under 2.5 goals, which is at 5/2 with SkyBet, and they’re at 6/4 to do it with a clean sheet.
The importance of the Europa League cannot now be overstated after the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal left United four points off the top four with just three games to go.
One of those games comes this Sunday as they travel to Tottenham for the last ever game at White Hart Lane, but that can’t be their priority. The team selection against Arsenal was a conscious choice to put all their eggs in one basket, and they now have to live with the consequences.
Marcus Rashford will no doubt be restored to the starting line-up and as the hosts’ most probable hope of a goal to settle their nerves, he’s at 7/2 to score first.
United ought to be on their way to Stockholm.