Athletic Bilbao v Manchester United: Match Preview

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Athletic Bilbao v Manchester United


San Mames Stadium; Europa League last 16; Thursday March 15; KO 1800




Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will have winger Antonio Valencia available after the Ecuadorian returned to training this week following missing a month with a hamstring problem.


Brazilian midfielder Anderson has suffered another injury blow and will be out for five weeks, while Phil Jones is missing due to flu and his England team-mate Chris Smalling is out after the cut to his head reopened in the first leg, causing the Old Trafford medical team to fear it was much worse than first thought.


Meanwhile, Athletic manager Marcelo Bielsa would only admit that one of the goal scorers from last week, Oscar de Marcos, could miss out due after also coming down with flu.


Hernandez wants cool heads


Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez wants his team-mates to keep their heads in Bilbao and be patient as they try and turn around the 3-2 deficit for the first leg.


The Mexican claims the way to beat Marcelo Bielsa’s team is to outdo them for work rate, but cautioned his team not be reckless as a clean sheet will be vital to victory.


We know we need to score two goals, but it’s also important for us not to concede. We need to be patient,” he told reporters in the pre-match press conference.


“We know the style of Athletic. They pass the ball around, they have a lot of energy and they press their opponents. We have to work hard - harder than them.”


‘Chicharito’ was the scorer the last time Sir Alex Ferguson’s team won in Spain, when they defeated Valencia in September 2010 during the Champions League group stages.

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