Sport

Smalling and Lindelof start for Man Utd against Basel

Share
Paul Ince had plenty of experience playing at the top level of the domestic game

The Swedish defender was a £31.5 million (Dh153m) signing from Benfica but is yet to play a minute in the Premier League and has not even been on the bench for three of United's four fixtures.

Jose Mourinho has admitted Manchester United are not yet in the same realm as Europe's elite after 644 days away from the Champions League.

United will be without Zlatan Ibrahimović and Marcos Rojo, who are both injured; Phil Jones and Eric Bailly are both suspended. He is a classic Mourinho player with a physical presence and charisma.

Jose Mourinho can not confirm if Marouane Fellaini will be fit enough to play against FC Basel, after the Manchester United midfielder missed the trip to Stoke City with a calf injury. However, we have also seen them play in a 3-5-2 resembling 3-6-1 during pre-season.

Mourinho is one of five managers to have won the European Cup/Champions League with two different clubs, alongside Ernst Happel, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Jupp Heynckes and Carlo Ancelotti.

The 24-year-old, who made it all the way to the final with Juve in 2015, told United Review: "Obviously, I came to Manchester United to play in the Champions League. So if his condition improves then he will be selected, because I need him". Qualification is a "basic" for United, he said, before reasoning that "we can not forget we came from the Europa League". Marouane Fellaini, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are injury doubts. "I don't think Bailly and Jones are better than them, I think they are the same level". They have been very impressive up to now and look primed for a huge season both domestically and in the Champions League.

Pogba will now get the opportunity to make his first Champions League appearance for the Red Devils against Basel on Tuesday and is relishing the opportunity to grace the grandest of stages once more.

Zidane was critical of his side after their display at the weekend, but said he and his players were relaxed despite drawing back-to-back league games for the first time in a year.

Manchester United kick off their first game of the group stages on the 12th of September against Basel at home and should they win the 3 points, it may ease the pressure for future games.

United are unbeaten in 18 European home games (W14 D4), going back to a 2-1 home loss to Real Madrid in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg.

Share