Manchester - Jose
Mourinho hopes Manchester United's players will shrug off the effects
of the stormy FA Cup loss to Chelsea when they resume Europa League
hostilities with a depleted Rostov on Thursday.
Ander Herrera's 35th-minute dismissal in Monday's FA Cup
quarter-final obliged United to toil with 10 men for an hour as they
succumbed to a sapping 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mourinho's former
United have the upper hand against Rostov, having netted an away goal
in a 1-1 draw in last week's last-16 first leg in Russia, but their
heavy schedule means freshness remains a concern.
"We have a very important match on Thursday and I want to rest a
little bit to try to prepare the team as best we can," United manager
Mourinho told reporters at Stamford Bridge.
"That's the most important thing now."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's suspension and injuries to Wayne Rooney and
Anthony Martial meant Marcus Rashford had to play as a lone striker at
Chelsea despite struggling with illness.
But while it is unclear whether Rooney or Martial will feature on
Thursday, Ibrahimovic and Herrera will both be at Mourinho's disposal as
their suspensions only apply to domestic matches.
Centre-back Eric Bailly is also available again after missing the first leg through suspension.
With United's FA Cup quest over, the Europa League is the only piece
of silverware Mourinho's side can hope to add to the League Cup they won
with a 3-2 victory over Southampton last month.
Aleksandr Bukharov's second-half equaliser saved Rostov from defeat
last Thursday on a tricky pitch that left Mourinho fuming, but Henrikh
Mkhitaryan's 35th-minute opener meant United were content to return to
England with a draw.
"They came back to 1-1 and then you can do two things: you can attack
or you can be a bit smarter and know there's a second leg. We chose the
second option," said United defender Daley Blind.
"We didn't underestimate them and we know what they're capable of in the home game.
"I'm sure we'll play on a better pitch, in better conditions, with all the crowd behind us. We have to finish it at home."
While the tie appears to remain
in the balance, United's lofty reputation and Rostov's own selection
problems have prompted visiting manager Ivan Daniliants to adopt a
"I expect a very difficult return match," he said.
"We're going to Manchester hoping to produce a miracle, which
sometimes happen in football. Unfortunately, we will be without a set of
first-team players there."
Rostov captain Aleksandr Katskan and Belarusian winger Timofei
Kalachev are both suspended after being booked in the first leg, while
full-back Vladimir Granat sustained a fractured collarbone.
First-choice goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaev has only recently returned from injury and is not expected to play at Old Trafford.
Elsewhere, Lyon will look to close out victory away to Roma after an
eye-catching 4-2 win last week in which Nabil Fekir and Alexandre
Lacazette scored a pair of superb late goals.
"We'll need to have the same spirit as in the first match," Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes told AFP.
"Given our strength in attack, I think we'll need to score in order to qualify."
It is all-square in the all-German clash between Borussia
Moenchengladbach and Schalke, who drew 1-1 in Gelsenkirchen in their
Dutch giants Ajax will attempt to overcome a 2-1 deficit at home to
Copenhagen, while Genk's 5-2 win at Belgian compatriots Gent means they
are already within touching distance of the last eight.
Fixtures (aggregate scores in brackets):
Thursday (22:05 SA time unless otherwise stated):
Krasnodar (RUS) v Celta Vigo (ESP) (1-2) (20:00)
Anderlecht (BEL) v APOEL (CYP) (1-0)
Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) v Schalke (GER) (1-1)
Roma (ITA) v Lyon (FRA) (2-4)
Manchester United (ENG) v Rostov (RUS) (1-1)
Besiktas (TUR) v Olympiakos (GRE) (1-1) (20:00)
Genk (BEL) v Gent (BEL) (5-2) (20:00)
Ajax (NED) v Copenhagen (DEN) (1-2)