United, Milan showdown at Old Trafford is a ‘tie of Europa league last 16’
Manchester United welcomes AC Milan to Old Trafford in a duel considered as the tie of the Europa League last 16.
The two longtime rivals will reignite the battle in the European Europa league cup tie. Both clubs show signs of revival as the old Trafford outfit beat Manchester city 2-0 in the domestic league. While Milan has shown what they are made of, as they upped the pace in the race for the scudetto.
United and Milan, who were once feared across Europe, have lost their luster in recent years. The two have met 10 times in European history, but the 11th encounter will be their first outside the Champions League knockout stages.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called for United to build on that success, praised his side’s energy levels after Sunday’s impressive 2-0 win at City.
“We are going to do everything we can to keep the performance levels up every day,” Solskjaer said.
“I feel we are a better team to 12, 16, 18 months ago. We have improved massively. We are more robust, resilient and there is more personality in the team. That is what I like,” he added.
Also, Milan has gradually improved under Stefano Pioli with the Italian club now second in Serie A this term.
They are six points behind leaders Inter Milan, and therefore winning the Europa League would be a sign of better days to come.
According to Pioli, who is facing an injury blow, expects Zlatan Ibrahimovic fit for an Old Trafford return. Ibrahimovic won the Europa League in 2017 with the Red Devils but has missed the past two games.
“He is better… he will have another examination to see how his recovery is going. We hope he can recover by Thursday,” Pioli said.
United will welcome two familiar faces in on loan full-back Diogo Dalot and Zlatan if he will be fit. Besides the history favoring the English side, Old Trafford holds happy memories for Milan.
Milan beat Juventus at Old Trafford in the 2003 Champions League final but holds a bad record against English hosts. They have just one win in 17 matches.