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How Man Utd lined up in practise match ahead of Europa League final

Manchester United’s practise match ahead of the Europa League final was available for all to see – so Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was careful not to give too much away.

United face Villarreal in Gdansk on Wednesday night aiming to lift their first trophy under Solskjaer.

And due to Covid restrictions, their training session in the Gdansk Stadion could be seen in its entirety – with skipper Harry Maguire not taking part.

Uefa usually limit open training before European matches to 15 minutes, but on Tuesday everyone present had to be outdoors, with no designated media working room.

That meant everyone in the stadium could see how United’s players lined up in their practise match – whether they were up in the press tribune, pitchside, or sitting in the dugout like Maguire.

Paul Pogba in action as Manchester United players train in Gdansk ahead of the Europa League final

Maguire was unable to take part in the session, so watched from the sidelines before heading down the tunnel – suggesting he may not win his race to be recover rom an ankle injury in time to face the Yellow Submarine.

In the captain’s absence, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe were paired together in the centre of defence on one of the practise teams, just as they were for the win against Wolves on the final day of the Premier League season.

Their team kept a clean sheet in the training game, in which Daniel James scored twice.

On the other team, Nemanja Matic played alongside Maguire’s regular centre-half partner Victor Lindelof.

Aside from the suggested absence of Maguire, the teams for the practise game gave little away, with Solskjaer mixing and matching top stars, back-up players and young guns pushing for a place.

Fred donned a neutral bib, switching sides depending on which one had the ball, but otherwise the teams were as follows:

Henderson, Williams, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Shaw, Van de Beek, Pogba, James, Shoretire, Amad, Cavani.

De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Matic, Telles, McTominay, Mata, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, Elanga.

How should Man Utd line up in the Europa League final? Have your say in the comments below

The latter team is the one closest to the line-up that would be expected to start Wednesday’s final – although Solskjaer could spring a few surprises, with the centre-half and right-wing positions appearing to be the places up for grabs.

Maguire emerged after all of his teammates and hid under the dugout. He was eventually joined by Solskjaer, who broke off from watching first-team training to sit next to his captain.

Maguire headed down the tunnel around 15 minutes into the session but re-emerged, clad in a coat.

The match was largely devoid of physical contact, with Solskjaer doubtless determined to avoid an unnecessary scare. Bailly received rigorous treatment in the centre circle as the session wound down but walked off unaided. None of the players left the pitch with an obvious injury.

Following the keep-ball sessions, United honed their crossing and finishing, with Luke Shaw and Daniel James marauding down the left and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Amad down the right.

Centre-backs were pitted against forwards inside the area and Mason Greenwood’s shooting was outstanding, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Solskjaer will sleep on his team before breaking the news to the players on Wednesday morning. David de Gea is expected to continue in goal, having started the last four Europa League ties.




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