Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Mourinho: Manchester attack victims in United's 'minds and hearts'


What: Manchester United play Ajax in the Europa League championship.

"Following last night's attack in Manchester, UEFA has confirmed that a minute's silence will be observed prior to the UEFA Europa League final in Stockholm on Wednesday night", a statement from UEFA read. But I think what happened last night really put things into perspective.

Indeed, Mourinho has not earned the affection that van Gaal was afforded by club staff - the former Ajax coach embraced life in Manchester, socialised in the city and placed huge importance on his role as United's figurehead, such as insisting on laying a wreath during the Munich memorial service.

Justin Kluivert and Chelsea loanee Bertrand Traore are expected to start out wide to support the 19-year-old Kasper Dolberg, who has 23 goals this season, six in the Europa League.

Charlie Nicholas says the Europa League final between Manchester United and Ajax will be a tight affair.

Despite performing consistently well this year, De Ligt's lack of experience on a big stage might not work in favour for an already-error-prone Ajax team; while United have made four mistakes leading to shots or goals, the Eredivisie side have made ten. We have developed a way of playing that I call the Ajax way.

"The only way we have a chance to beat Manchester is if we play our own game".

Pulling the strings in midfield will be Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba, but Mourinho has a few selection dilemmas on his mind ahead of Wednesday's final.

"Of course, we got to the final with a certain way of playing, it's our forte", he told a pre-match news conference.

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On Wednesday, Ajax are without experienced Dutch defender Nick Viergever after his red card in the semi-final.

The substitute home appearance in a Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv came after the young winger returned to London from a star loan spell for Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem.

The summit clash will be played at Stockholm, Sweden.

Ajax's mix of home-grown talent and bargain basement - by current European standards - signings is also familiar.

United's performances during this season's tournament suggested their players were not sure how much they wanted to win it either.

The last two months have been hard going, with a game every three or four days as a effect of United going deep in every competition it entered.

The Red Devils have stumbled towards the final, winning just two of their last eight games as they shifted their priorities clearly towards the Stockholm final. Ziyech has been hugely influential in the Ajax side this season with his vision and passing ability a major weapon for the Amsterdammers.

The final will not, however, be a glorious homecoming for United's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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