By Mark Weasley
Manchester United play Ajax in the Europa League in a clash that promises to be fiery right from the first whistle. The Red Devils know that a win in Stockholm this night will ensure their qualification into next season’s UEFA Champions League, which will undoubtedly make this season a success. The Jose Mourinho tutored side head into the match against Ajax with the knowledge that failure to win against Peter Bosz men will make the club lose £50m in revenue and has the propensity to cost them more money by not featuring in Europe’s foremost competition.
The match comes in the wake of the Manchester terror disaster in which over 22 people lost their lives and it has been confirmed that a minute silence will be observed in the memory of the departed. Ajax have not played in a European final since the 1996 Champions League Final, spearheaded by their golden era, that won the competition a year earlier. Ajax will head into the clash with a squad of young, talented players in the mould of Mattijhs de Ligt, Bertrand Traore, Hachim Ziyech and Kasper Dolberg led by the impressive Davy Klaasen, who is one of the more experienced players at the age of 25.
Jose Mourinho has won all of his six previous games against Ajax, all while managing Real Madrid and has only lost two finals in 11 matches in his career as a manager. United have already won the Community Shield and EFL Cup this season, but the chance to win a trophy not in the impressive trophy cabinet may prove too much to handle. Ajax have had the most attempts on goal in this season’s competition, 225, with 95 of them on target.
Ajax placed second in the Eredivisie while United finished a lowly sixth on the Premier League table.