Manchester United have been drawn against Russian outfit FC Rostov in the Europa League Round of 16 stage.
The Red Devils will make a 3,744-mile long trip to Russia for the first leg on March 9, and the second leg will be played at Old Trafford on March 16.
As per the UEFA coefficients, Rostov are currently the lowest ranked club left in the European competition. However, Manchester United cannot afford to take them lightly under any circumstances, given the Russian club’s performance in the UEFA Champions League earlier this season.
Rostov managed to secure a sensational 3-2 home win over Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich this season. Furthermore, they lost both their home and away games against La Liga powerhouse Atletico Madrid by a single goal, and managed to draw both games against PSV Eindhoven. But having finished third in Group D with 5 points, they ended up qualifying for the Europa League.
In the UEL Round of 32, United’s upcoming opponents were drawn against Sparta Prague – a side they beat 5-1 on aggregate, indicating the fact that Mourinho’s men will definitely need to be on the top of their game if they are to cruise past Rostov and into the quarterfinals.
Jose Mourinho himself was asked about his thoughts on the draw during the press conference, to which he replied: “It’s a bad draw, in every aspect. It’s far and it’s difficult. They are a very difficult team.
“They had a very good Champions League campaign. They beat Ajax and Anderlecht in the play-offs and in the group phase they had a very difficult group with Bayern and Atletico. They managed important results against them. They got third position leaving PSV out.
“I know the manager well. I played against him when he was in Rubin and I was with Inter. It was very difficult. They were very defensive and very physical. So it’s a bad draw. But after Southampton and Bournemouth we will focus on it and we will go for it.”
UEFA Europa League Round of 16 draw in full:
Celta Vigo v Krasnodar
Apoel v Anderlecht
Schalke v Borussia Moenchengladbach
Lyon v Roma
Rostov v Manchester United
Olympiakos v Besiktas
Gent v Genk
FC Copenhagen v Ajax