Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst expects Manchester United to produce a very different performance on Thursday to the one they managed in Rotterdam in September.
Jose Mourinho’s side were beaten 1-0 by the Eredivisie leaders and could be eliminated from Europe if they suffer another defeat at Old Trafford.
Van Bronckhorst, however, is aware that United are likely to pose a greater threat given the importance of a victory.
“In De Kuip we have seen that it is possible to get a good result against Manchester United,” he said at his pre-match media conference.
“Now their approach will be different to then, because United must now win. That makes this a very different game than in Rotterdam.”
Mourinho has had a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, with United already nine points off Premier League leaders Chelsea after 12 matches and yet to find consistency in their play.
But Van Bronckhorst is confident that they will challenge for silverware this season and says they have been unfortunate in some of their matches this season.
“It’s always difficult to go to a new team but he’s shown it before – he has had success at every club so I think he will bring it to United,” he said of Mourinho.
“Results are not going the way they want but I think all the games I have seen, including on the weekend against Arsenal, they have been unlucky to win. Sometimes in football it goes this way. They are still capable of winning prizes this year with the quality they have in their squad.”
Karim El Ahmadi, Terence Kongolo and Eric Botteghin will all be missing for Feyenoord but Van Bronckhorst has called on his available players to embrace their opportunity to impress on one of Europe’s biggest stages.
“In particular, at centre-back we miss many players, three of the five guys who can play there are not available,” he said.
“I’ve played a few times at Old Trafford and know that the atmosphere here is fantastic.
“These are special matches. It’s only the third time that Feyenoord and United play each other in the last 20 years. For my players, this game is a way to compete with the very top players.”
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