Europa League: Celta Vigo up against Manchester United in semi-final

Celta`s league form may have drifted as they have focused their attention on Europe on the second half of the season, but their rivals are not in great form at the moment either.

IANS| Updated: May 03, 2017, 16:29 PM IST
Europa League: Celta Vigo up against Manchester United in semi-final

Madrid: Celta Vigo face one of the biggest nights in their history when they entertain Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League football semifinal on Thursday.

The Spanish side have been preparing for the game since defeating Genk in the quarter-finals with coach Eduardo Berizzo carrying out a series of squad rotations to ensure his strongest starting XI, reports Xinhua news agency.

The rotations have seen Celta lose their last three home games in La Liga, with a 0-3 home defeat to Athletic Club Bilbao on Sunday, the latest of those setbacks, but striker John Guidetti is confident things will be different on Thursday.

"With the mentality we have built here, nothing is impossible," he told UEFA.com

"We may be a small club and a team that others don`t take much notice of, but we also know how good we are, that`s why we`ve beaten Barcelona two years in a row and why we knocked Real Madrid out of this season`s Cup. We have shown that we are a good team," insisted the Swedish forward.

Celta`s league form may have drifted as they have focused their attention on Europe on the second half of the season, but their rivals are not in great form at the moment either.

Sunday saw Manchester United produce another flat display as they were held 1-1 by relegation threatened Swansea City and the side coached by Jose Mourinho is without a series of key players.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out for months after undergoing a knee operation, while they have a crisis in defense with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Timothy Fosu-Mensah all out, while Eric Baily limped out of Sunday`s game before halftime.

The good news for Mourinho is that Paul Pogba should be able to play after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Manchester United are struggling for a top-four finish in the Premier League, but both they and Celta know the prize for the Europa League winner is direct qualification for next season`s Champions League, something that would mean both of their seasons were a success.