Manchester United will be targeting a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when they host Sevilla in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.
United drew 0-0 with the Spanish side in the first leg and come into the second-leg clash on the back of three consecutive victories in the Premier League. Jose Mourinho’s men beat Chelsea 2-1, Crystal Palace 3-2, and Liverpool 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run across all competitions to five games.
In terms of home form, United have not lost at Old Trafford since the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City back in October. They have since gone unbeaten in eight home fixtures, keeping five clean sheets.
‘Sevilla and Brighton are more important games than Liverpool,’ Mourinho was quoted as saying by the Telegraph after the win over the Reds.
‘Liverpool is Liverpool, it is a big match, it is a match against a direct competitor for the top four but nothing is decided yet.
‘But Sevilla and Brighton are ‘live-or-die’ games so the next two are much more important than this one.’In modern football you have to live day-by-day, week-by week and match-by-match and I can imagine that if we lose against Sevilla on Tuesday everyone will have forgotten what we did in the last couple of weeks.’
Meanwhile, Sevilla have been more inconsistent in recent weeks. After the goalless draw with United they lost 5-2 at home against Atletico Madrid. They followed it up with back-to-back wins over Malaga and Athletic Bilbao. However, they lost at home once again on Saturday when Valencia handed them a 2-0 defeat. Los Rojiblancos have never progressed as far as the Champions League quarter-finals. They lost to English opposition last season when Leicester City beat them 3-2 on aggregate.
‘We are hoping to do something exhilarating at Old Trafford after not scoring a goal that we deserved in the opening leg,’ Sevilla president Pepe Castro told Radio Sevilla FC. ‘I would sign right now to draw 1-1 at Manchester.
‘Paul Pogba remains a doubt for United, after missing the win over Liverpool, while Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, and Phil Jones remain sidelined.
Sevilla will be without the services of Sebastien Corchia and Jesus Navas, who are both still injured.
Manchester United did the job required in the away game, being the first team to stop Sevilla from scoring at home in the Champions League. At Old Trafford they will be set up to score goals.
Sevilla meanwhile are in the middle of a inconsistent run and I can’t see them causing any problems to United.
Prediction – Manchester United 2-0 Sevilla
Newcastle have been linked with a shock move for former Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet during the summer.