Manchester United vs St Etienne: 11 things you need to know ahead of Europa League clash



Manchester United host Ligue 1 side St Etienne at Old Trafford in the knockout stages of the Europa League.



United who sit in sixth, will be eyeing automatic qualification to the Champions League, which is the case if they win the Europa final this May.
The clash sees brothers Paul and Florentin Pogba face-off for the first time in their professional careers.
Florentin revealed this week his younger brother “goes mad” when he loses and he'll be hoping that's the case when the two meet at the Theatre of Dreams.
Here are 11 things you need to know ahead of the Europa League clash.
1. When is the match ?
The match takes place at Old Trafford under the lights on Thursday with a 8:05pm kick-off.
2. Team news
Jose Mourinho will rest Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones for the round of 32 tie.
The Portuguese manager revealed the trio missed training on Wednesday as he wants to 'protect them' from any further problems.
Argentinian defender Marcos Rojo is available after suffering a knock.
St Etienne are without striker Alexander Soderlund and defender Cheikh M'Bengue due to recent injuries.
The Ligue 1 side are also without strikers Robert Beric and Oussama Tannane who are both out with long-term injuries.
3. Predicted sides
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Blind, Pogba, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Mata, Martial, Ibrahimovic
St Etienne: Perrin, Malcuit, Theophile-Catherine, Perrin, Pogba, Veretout, Selnaes, Hamouma, Saivet, Monnet-Paquet, Roux
4. Reasons for United fans to be optimistic
The Red Devils have only lost one of their last 22 games in all competitions.
Mourinho's side haven't conceded in their last four games.
5. Reasons for St Etienne fans to be optimistic
The Ligue 1 side are in good form and have won three of their last five games, scoring nine goals.
Manchester United have drawn nine times this seasons and have struggled against defensive teams.
6. Previous meetings
Manchester United and St Etienne played each other twice over two legs, in the 1977/78 European Cup Winners' Cup.
They drew the first leg 1-1 and the Manchester side won the reverse home fixture 2-0.
7. Recent form
Manchester United's last five matches
Manchester United 2-0 Watford
Leicester 0-3 Manchester United
Manchester United 0-0 Hull
Manchester United 4-0 Reading
Hull 2-1 Manchester United
St Etienne's last five matches
St Etienne 4-0 Lorient
Nice 1-0 St Etienne
St Etienne 2-0 Lyon
Auxerre 3-0 St Etienne
Toulouse 0-3 St Etienne
8. Manchester United's key man
Pogba's £89 million pound price tag has been the main talking point surrounding him since his move back to Old Trafford, rather than his performances.
With a long way to go to justifying the record-breaking fee, Pogba needs to carry on putting in match winning performances for United.
He has two goals and assist in the Europa league – joint highest with Zlatan Ibrahimovic – and he'll have to put the family reunion behind him this Thursday.
9. St Etienne's key man
The French side have struggled to find a consistent scorer this season, but Romain Hamouma is stepping up to the mark with two goals in his last three games.
The tricky midfielder will try to cause havoc against a a slow but steady Daley Blind tonight.
10. Betting odds
Manchester United – 3/10
Draw – 4/1
St Etienne – 10/1
11. Quotes corner
Mourinho speaking on Rooney, Carrick and Jones exemption
“Wayne and Michael are – I don't want to say injuries, because I don't think we are talking about injuries.
“We are speaking about little muscular problem and protection of these problems.
“So all three are out tomorrow and, apart from that, everything is alright.”
Florentin Pogba on younger brother Paul
“I've known how good he is since he was very young, but for him to be in the first team at such a big club is amazing.
“In terms of being the world's most expensive player, I think he's put that to one side because it's more an issue for the media. He is not letting it bother him.
“He is quite irritable though, he doesn't like to lose. His head starts buzzing when he loses. I learned to lose and I would say that you're not losing but learning. But for him, when he loses, he goes mad.
Source: All Football

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