Manchester United face Granada in the Europa League on Thursday and some United fans fear their side might falter vs the La Liga outfit since they have very little idea about them.
Playing in the Europa League poses a lot of challenges and perhaps the biggest of them is that you often come up against sides about whom you have no idea. And Granada happen to be one such side.
Granada got promoted in the ’18/19 season and going into this game, they are very nicely placed in the middle of the La Liga table picking up 36 points from 29 matches. This is their maiden European campaign and they have already managed to reach the quarter-finals. And this is why going into the first leg, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his players not to be too complacent.
The manager told the press: “You watch Premier League games every weekend and you sit and enjoy it. You watch Match of the Day and you sit back and relax and you get a picture of the opposition and you only analyse really tight when you’re going to play against them.
“I have to say I hadn’t seen Granada too many times before Molde played them. But when Molde played them, I got interested because we might meet them. I watched them against Real Madrid and Barcelona – the big games – and I’ve been impressed by everything about them.
“They got promoted, had a fantastic season last season and this season you see they’re up there – they beat Napoli.
“You start to open your eyes a bit and you think you have an idea of what you might meet, but then you analyse them and it might be a little bit different. They’ve got some strengths that other teams don’t have; they’ve got an X-factor in many ways that you wouldn’t expect.
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“It’s unbelievable how much attitude, desire, team spirit, values, how much that can do for a team, for players. They’re very good at – and better than most – at the things that don’t cost anything which is just what I’m talking about.
“I mean that as a compliment. I think the value of team spirit, camaraderie, organisation is so important for a team. But then they also have the individual quality and experience in a few players that will have been very important for them.”
Granada have picked up points against teams like Real Sociedad and Villarreal in the La Liga this season and they have also managed to knock out Napoli in the Round of 32 of the Europa League.
So, naturally, they will not lay down and allow Manchester United to walk over them on Thursday. But, in the end, Manchester United have a star-studded side and this one factor should be enough to help them wrap up the tie in the first leg itself.