Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to use Tuesday’s home Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow as a turning point for their season.
United secured a 1-1 draw in Russia thanks to Anthony Martial’s header in their most recent European outing on October 21 but have since recorded three 0-0 draws in a row, results which have seen them lose ground to Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table and exit the League Cup on penalties to Middlesbrough.
With his side again struggling in attack in a stalemate with Crystal Palace on Saturday, Van Gaal wants to see a reaction when the Russian Premier League leaders visit Old Trafford.
“When I see their characters, I don’t think they have doubts about that quality,” Van Gaal said of his attacking players. “It can change in one match – let that be CSKA, because we need victory.
“I have to hope we score against Moscow again because then we are talking in a different way.”
CSKA, meanwhile, secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over Ufa on Saturday to equal the Russian top-flight record of 36 points from 14 matches.
Nigeria international Ahmed Musa is himself looking to end a three-game goal drought and, with only goal difference currently separating his side and United in Group B, he hopes to do so this week.
“The most important thing is the three points. It’s football – sometimes you score, sometimes you don’t,” Musa said.
“I’m sure I’ll score again soon. I hope it’ll be in the Manchester United game.”
United expect to be without Antonio Valencia (foot) for the game, while Memphis Depay is still struggling to shake off a knock suffered against Middlesbrough.
Bibras Natcho (head) and Vasiliy Berezutsky (thigh) are both doubts for CSKA boss Leonid Slutsky, who was confirmed as Russia’s coach for the Euro 2016 finals this week.
United are still looking for a first ever home victory against Russian opposition and only a second in nine matches against any side from the country.
Their last home clash with CSKA came in the 2009-10 group stages, when Valencia scored an injury-time equaliser to secure a 3-3 draw.