Jose Mourinho knows a win at Benfica on Wednesday will put Manchester United on the brink of the Champions League knockout stages. United have won their opening two Group A games to sit top of the pile, with a double-header against Benfica - bottom of the group - up next. With FC Basel and CSKA Moscow facing each other twice in the next two gameweeks, four points or more against the Portuguese champions would all but guarantee United a spot in the last-16 of the competition.
Manchester United have always been one of the biggest clubs in the world and for the first time since the Sir Alex Ferguson era there appears to be real hope around Old Trafford as fans anticipate another glory season following last season’s double triumph in the Europa League and EFL Cup. Football Ticket Pad are proud to provide Manchester United tickets to all of their matches as Jose Mourinho looks to challenge on all fronts, with the UEFA Champions League and Premier League high on the agenda.
This week, attentions turn to Europe’s premier competition, the UEFA Champions League. There will be one particular player looking to make his mark for the Red Devils following his summer arrival, Sweden international Victor Lindelof. He has had a somewhat muted start to life in Manchester and he will be hoping to grasp the opportunity to impress against his former club Benfica. Jose Mourinho has said to Manchester United defenders, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly that they need to be careful and work hard if they want to continue getting time on the pitch. The United manager decided to place Lindelof in the first XI for the commencement of their Champions League efforts against FC Basel alongside a settled Chris Smalling and the Swede looks likely to get game time in Portugal.
It was a better debut for the Swedish international than a Premier League fixture, as he is much more used to the European game than he is the domestic one and he continues to adapt to the frantic pace and style of the English game. Other new arrivals to Manchester United have found their feet quickly, no more so than Romelu Lukaku, who already has a wealth of Premier League experience. For that reason, Lindelof should be given time and the chance to play and the Champions League is a platform on which the defender can develop.
Benfica will know all too well the threat that Lindelof carries and will be aware of his growing ability to create chances from long passes and set-pieces. As a result, it will be a testing fixture for the Swede and he will be hoping for a happy return on Portuguese soil, alongside his boss Mourinho.
SkySports’ Charlie Nicholas said in his predictions for the Champions League: “Assuming that defensive display was a one-off, I think United are Britain's best hope of winning the competition with the balance they have in their side.” and although that’s a possibility, all British teams are in for a chance this season and match tickets are hotter than they’ve ever been with Football Ticket Pad as all four English clubs take a huge step closer to qualification.