Manchester United have a huge game on Wednesday night. Not only to bring some moderate success to a relatively underwhelming season, but to ensure they are playing Champions League football next season. With the transfer market looming, being in the Champions League next season could be paramount for Mourinho being able to bring in the kind of players he needs to in order to challenge for the Premier League title next season.
The Reds already have two titles under their belt in the Community Shield and the League Cup. They are just one game away from their third trophy of the season. United fans will know that these are not the type of trophies they want to see their team lift, but the importance of lifting the Europa League is the difference between a poor season and an acceptable one.
The onus will be on Manchester United to take the game to Ajax on Wednesday night. Ajax will know that the odds are stacked against them, but will fancy their chances given that United have been far from prolific on their road to the final. In the semi-finals, Ajax beat Lyon 5-4 across two legs. A brilliant performance in the first leg gave the Dutch side a 4-1 advantage which was enough to hold off Lyon in the second leg.
Manchester United will go into the will go into the game as odds on favourites, but they have shown vulnerabilities in the competition so far. Since the Round of 16, United have just done enough to get through each round. Problems killing games off have been highlighted in the tournament and they will again be relying heavily on teenager Marcus Rashford to lead the line on Wednesday night.
Ajax have also had their troubles in the Europa League. They have only won one games away from their home soil which came against Panathinaikos in the opening game of the group stages. United will be looking to exploit this in Stockholm.
Mourinho will have more of his squad available ahead of Wednesday night’s game than he has done in previous weeks. Paul Pogba featured on Sunday afternoon and was taken off at half time – presumably to be saved for the final. Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Blind, Darmian and Valencia are all available for Mourinho which should give United a fairly solid defence on Wednesday night.
Manchester United are currently odds on, priced at 17/20 to win in 90 minutes (or 21/50 to lift the trophy). Ajax can be backed at 7/2 for the win in 90 minutes, or 9/5 to lift the trophy. 23/10 is the price for the game to go past 90 minutes into extra time.
(Prices From Bet on Brazil – odds may fluctuate)