Manchester United have firmly established the fact that this season is a transition period and as of such the usual expectations of the European giants are off the table for the time being.
At the same time, the club is still expected to try and finish in the top-four in a bid to achieve Champions League football for the next season. However, the Red Devils can also reach the same through another time-tested method- winning the Europa League.
Their first hurdle on that path is the Round of 32 where they have been drawn against Club Brugge.
Reacting to the draw, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stated the following (via club’s official website): “I watched Club Brugge against PSG and Real Madrid. They did well in the Champions League and they stayed in most of the games, with one or two bad defeats. But they are a good team. They are top of the Belgian league and, funnily enough, I used to have their second goalkeeper, Ethan Horvath, at Molde so it will be good to see him again.”
He went on to add about United’s ambition: “They will be tough games but you are always going to get tough games as you head into the knockout stages. We are hoping to go through to the last 16.”
Brugge’s manager Philippe Clement was likewise aware of the intent with which the Mancunian giants would contest the round, stating: “The Europa League is very important to them, so they won’t spare themselves in the games against us. But we play our own football, we know what the circumstances are and we will throw ourselves completely.”
The fixtures are slated for late February which given Solskjaer and company plenty of time as well as a transfer window to try and get the club’s fortunes in order for the cup run.