Ten Hag and De Gea bemoan over Europa League fixture with Sheriff

‘United should be playing in the Champions League’: Erik ten Hag and David de Gea bemoan Europa League fixture with Sheriff but insist there is still pressure on the Red Devils to get a result after last year’s Real Madrid upset

  • Manchester United are set to face Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday
  • Ten Hag and De Gea believes United should be playing in the Champions League
  • However, Ten Hag has said there is still pressure on their game against Sheriff 
  • Sheriff caused an upset a year ago after beating Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu

It’s a scene to make Manchester United long for those Champions League nights.

Ugly grey blocks of flats tower over the tiny Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital chosen to host Thursday evening’s Europa League Group E tie because FC Sheriff’s home ground in the unrecognised state of Transnistria was deemed too dangerous by UEFA due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

The venue where a sell-out crowd of 8,800 fans will watch the game may have been built in 2006, but there is an unmistakeable air of old school Soviet Bloc.

Erik ten Hag’s Man United side are set to face Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday

Even though United have toured some far-flung outposts of Europe in recent years, the club’s first ever trip to Moldova will take some beating.

No wonder goalkeeper David de Gea had the Champions League on his mind when he and manager Erik ten Hag attended a press conference in front of a handful of reporters in a stuffy old gymnasium here last night.

‘Of course, in my opinion we should be playing Champions League, but this is a competition we have to play for – we will go with everything,’ said the United goalkeeper.

Goalkeeper David de Gea (above) had the Champions League on his mind when he and manager Ten Hag attended a press conference in front of a handful of reporters

Victory is all the more important for United after losing their group opener to Real Sociedad at Old Trafford which has put Ten Hag’s side under early pressure

When Ten Hag was asked by a local journalist if United will sign some autographs after the game, he didn’t sound like a man who was looking to hang around very long.

‘We will think about it but also after the game we have to go straight to the airport and return to Manchester,’ said the United boss. ‘The players have international duties and we have to prepare for that.’ 

Ten Hag will be hoping to go home with a win to make the trip worthwhile, but that won’t be easy against a club that stunned Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu in the Champions League a year ago and won 3-0 away to Omonia Nicosia in this competition last week.

Victory is all the more important for United after losing their group opener to Real Sociedad at Old Trafford which has put Ten Hag’s side under early pressure.

United landed here on Wednesday without Marcus Rashford (left)- who sustained a muscle injury following the Red Devils’ victory over Arsenal 

There is still margin for error but that didn’t stop the Dutchman from painting this as a must-win game.

‘Pressure is for every game,’ he added. ‘It’s clear that when you lose the first game you have to win the second. We know what our task is.

‘They beat Real Madrid last year, they’re capable of doing that. We have to be ready and prepared for that game. It’s a serious and decent opponent, and we have to play our best to get the win.’ 

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United landed here on Wednesday without Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

All four players are understood to be injured with United sources dismissing speculation in Holland that Van de Beek has been dropped.




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