Manchester United’s January signing Bruno Fernandes scored the winning goal for Sporting in their 2-1 home victory against LASK on Match Day 2.
After a third-placed finish in the Premier League, Manchester United resume their Europa League campaign with high hopes knowing they will be rubbing shoulders with the elite once more next season.
Due to the delayed resumption, United have no other competitions to worry about through August therefore manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could pick his strongest side to face Austrian side LASK in their second leg at Old Trafford tonight.
However, with a five-goal swing the Norwegian could afford to give his young players and fringe players some more game time whilst resting his stars and banking on the fact that they can comfortably qualify for the next round. The match provides a superb opportunity for the likes of Mason Greenwood to get a full match under his belt and allow Brandon Williams to continue gaining experience at the highest level, to name a couple.
Solskjaer also has a tough choice to make with his goalkeeper, as first-choice David de Gea has struggled in the latter stages of the season. Back-up option Sergio Romero has remained patient while his Spanish counterpart continues to make blunders.
Romero will feel he now deserves a chance to audition for the No 1 spot next season.
LASK’s first Uefa encounter against an English club turned out to be a painful experience as they were overwhelmed.
United scored five times without reply, including twice in added time, to claim their biggest away win in the Uefa Cup/Uefa Europa League and inflict a heaviest European home defeat on their hosts. Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira added further goals in the second period.
Since the season resumed, United have lost just one of 11 matches (an FA Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea) and that impressive run of form helped them to finish third in the Premier League, securing a place in next season’s Champions League.
They have been particularly potent in the final third this term, scoring 66 times in the top flight, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood accounting for 52 of those goals.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have not lost at home in the Europa League in their last 13 games, winning 11 and drawing two, and that record should be extended when they welcome LASK to Old Trafford.