Manchester United will play on Wednesday their third match of the Champions League campaign. After wins against Basel and CSKA Moscow, the Reds will be facing champions of Portugal, Benfica.
Jose Mourinho and his players have travelled to Lisbon where they will face off against the team that has struggled so far in the Champions League. Benfica have lost both of their matches and desperately need to get some points off Man United.
Among the travelling players are still not fully fit Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw. However, Mourinho is not likely to use them in the matchday squad. Other players will be on display. The Portuguese manager should look out onto several things if he wants his team to win with the least possible drama.
Fatigue Of Key Players
This is not a grave problem yet, but could become one. Manchester United looked tiresome throughout the Saturday derby clash against Liverpool. It was not a great for any of the Man United players – David De Gea excluded – and Mourinho will have to assess that slight problem.
Nemanja Matic looked exhausted in the second half, having trouble to keep up against Liverpool midfield. He played alongside Ander Herrera, but lack of substitutions in that area of pitch meant he had to finish the game. Man United manager was unable to tinker more, as his midfield options are currently limited and Romelu Lukaku being the only real striker right now means he plays all the time.
Manchester United would really use it well to win this game without much trouble, not only for the points’ sake. Also because of resting key players before some of the key Premier League matches – against Chelsea and Tottenham.
Andrija Zivkovic In Particular
Jose Mourinho should also look beyond his team. Benfica has started poorly this campaign but that will not fool an experienced manager like him.
“Benfica will be tricky adversaries for us. Their results are not the real indicator, they have a good team”, Mourinho said in a press conference prior to the match. He has point, though. Benfica might have troubles scoring goals, but they have plenty of potential and Andrija Zivkovic is one of their biggest talents.
Young Serbian winger was reportedly on the radar of Man United scouts after a fine display against CSKA Moscow in first round of the group stage. He is pacey, direct and can dribble past defenders. Manchester United should pay attention to him at all times.
Mourinho To Find The Balance
Manchester United should do everything to win this match. However, if Benfica play the way they did so far, the Reds will be in for a treat. Benfica have been leaking goals and Man United could really do with an easy win.
That could mean a slower tempo and conserving energy before the match against Huddersfield this weekend. This season will be a long one, especially if United plan on winning the Premier League. Talks about Manchester United struggling just because of a 0-0 draw at Anfield should be put to bed.