United considering bit-part Europa League team selections

Alex Turk

August starts tomorrow, which means it's almost time for Manchester United to embark on their journey for more Europa League success.

The competition provides a great opportunity for United to clinch silverware in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first season in charge.

If the Reds can continue their safe passage past LASK Linz - who visit Old Trafford at a 5-0 deficit next Wednesday - they'll be three wins away from doing so.

Solskjaer may not be going into the Europa League quarter-finals in full gear as many expect though, with the quick turnover into the 2020/21 season in mind.

According to the Manchester Evening News, United are viewing the competition as an opportunity to rest certain first-team players ahead of the new campaign.

The demanding schedule following lockdown wore several regular players into the ground by the end of the Premier League, as United crawled over the line to qualify for the Champions League next season.

That took away the pressure of winning the Europa League to do so, and with the new season starting just 22 days after the final on August 21, it leaves little time for rest.

It's a certainty that we'll see a bit-part team line-up against LASK next week, but it'll be very interesting to see how seriously Solskjaer takes it from the quarters onwards.

United will face either Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen in the next round, with one of Wolves, Olympiakos, Roma or Sevilla awaiting in the semi-finals.

Those who reach the latter stages of European competition - with Manchester City and Chelsea still in the Champions League - are likely to receive an extended break before kicking off once again in the Premier League.

With that in mind, I think United should take it seriously. Football is all about winning trophies at this level, at the end of the day.

To secure a third-place finish in the top-flight is enough progress to kickstart Solskjaer's reign as manager, but to win a trophy in his first full season would be brilliant.

United's last trophy was the Europa League back in 2017 under Jose Mourinho and to go over three years without success is unheard of - even post-Sir Alex Ferguson.

Be sure to check out Fanzine Friday on Stretford Paddock, where Jay Motty speaks with Red News founder Barney Chilton...

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