By Alex Demarco

Manchester United take on Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday night knowing that a win could take them top of Group A.

Currently third in the table, the Red Devils are one point behind their Turkish opponents, who come into the game in poor form domestically.

Manager Dick Advocaat has overseen just two Super Lig wins so far this season, leaving them in ninth place and the Dutch trainer is under a considerable amount of pressure.

United, who start the game as favourites, will come up against a familiar face in Robin van Persie, who returns to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the club in 2015.

The Dutchman established himself as a crowd favourite during his three-year stint at the Theatre of Dreams, helping deliver their 20th top-flight title in his debut season.

Van Persie’s former strike partner, Wayne Rooney, has fond memories of facing Fenerbahce, having scored a hat-trick on his United debut as a teenage prodigy with the world at his feet back in 2004.

With manager Jose Mourinho likely to make a number of changes to the side that drew at Liverpool on Monday, England’s all-time top-scorer could be restored to the starting XI.

The Portuguese tactician confirmed that Luke Shaw will start at left-back whilst Henrikh Mkhitaryan is fit again and is available for selection.

However, he refused to be drawn on which other players would start, stating only that he will field a strong side.

“It’s a big team and a difficult opponent,” Mourinho told the assembled media.

“Tomorrow we are going to play with a team that has chances to win and if we play with a team that is not good and strong, we don’t have a chance.”

There are doubts over the fitness of French pair Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin, who were both absent through injury for the trip to Anfield.

A convincing victory for the hosts would be ideal preparation for their next fixture, a trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as they take on Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.

Potential Manchester United Starting XI (4-5-1): De Gea; Fosu-Mensah, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw; Carrick, Fellaini, Rashford, Rooney, Lingard; Ibrahimovic.


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