Ole Gunnar Solksjaer may well experience first-hand tonight the gulf in class that currently exists between his Manchester United side and their treble-chasing neighbours but, regardless of the result, the club’s new manager is already searingly honest in his appraisal of their standing in the English game.
If ever there was ever any confusion as to why Manchester United have not been able to challenge their noisy neighbours for the title this season it was cleared up and summed up in a tepid defeat against Chris Hughton’s excellent Brighton & Hove Albion.
With Paul Pogba added to Manchester United’s lengthening injury list for tonight’s derby at the Etihad Stadium, the continued unavailability of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones is a source of great frustration to manager Jose Mourinho.
Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney, strikers at contrasting stages of their Manchester United careers, emerged from the shadow cast by the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and invigorated their team’s hopes of an unlikely top-four Premier League finish.
Marcus Rashford made a compelling case for youth as Manchester United stumbled their way into the Europa League semi-finals, moving one step closer towards success in teh competition that is most likely to provide the club with a route back into the Champions League.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s wish to have the Europa League clash at Rostov called off due to the state of the pitch has fallen on deaf ears, with Uefa confirming it will go ahead as planned despite the surface not being in “perfect condition”.