22 May, 20:45
After missing out on a top four spot in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho’s men are expected to go ‘guns blazing’ on Wednesday night in the Europa League final against Ajax.
Having had a rather ‘underwhelming’ first season for the Red Devils, Mourinho turned his attention to securing Europa League silverware - which guarantees a direct entry into Europe’s elite competition, the UEFA Champions League.
Whilst on the eye, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side have looked better than under Louis van Gaal, a sixth place finish is well below par for the most expensive squad ever assembled.
And it is for this reason that Mourinho will want to silence critics by winning the Europa League.
The Europa League is a big deal!
Europe’s second trophy, the Europa League is the only one Man United have never won in either its current or previous form as the UEFA Cup.
Earlier on in the season, Jose Mourinho cited how winning the Europa League would glamorize Manchester United’s trophy cabinet, stating that bagging the cup would ‘close the circle’ of trophies decorating the club's great history.
Jose Mourinho’s future hangs in the balance
The importance of the Europa League final to Jose Mourinho’s standing at Old Trafford is also illustrated by a report in the Sunday Mirror.
Manchester United were prepared to extend Mourinho’s contract and improve his financial terms at Old Trafford earlier on in the season.
But, now Manchester United are waiting to see how the Europa League final pans out before holding talks.
The Sunday Mirror reports: -While United’s owners have no intention of making their third managerial change since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, they are being careful about pushing ahead with a plan to hand Mourinho a two-year extension that has been in the pipeline since the turn of the year.
It feels like it is difficult to overstate what Wednesday night’s game in Stockholm means for everyone connected to Manchester United.