Midtjylland eye 'miracle' against Manchester United
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Midtjylland may have the advantage over Manchester United after last week's first leg, but sporting director Claus Steinlein still thinks it will be a "miracle" if they progress.
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Midtjylland pulled off the shock of the round of 32 first legs by beating Manchester United in Herning and are now optimistic they can finish the job in England on Thursday.
Jess Thorup's charges came from behind to win 2-1 last week and will have fond memories of their only previous trip to Manchester, overcoming Man. City 1-0 in the first leg of a 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round tie. They ultimately lost on penalties yet have high hopes of wrapping up an aggregate victory this time round.
"If we beat Manchester United over two legs, it will be a bit of a miracle," said the club's sporting director Claus Steinlein. "Now we believe we can beat them and I'm sure we will go there and do it."
United, enduring a tricky patch domestically at present, remain upbeat about their own chances despite a long injury list that includes the likes of Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Matteo Darmian.
"Of course I think we can do it in Manchester but it's not going to be easy," said embattled manager Louis van Gaal. "They drew at Southampton earlier this season [in the play-offs] – but it's possible. We have to fight more than [in the first leg]."
Centre-back Chris Smalling added: "Recently we have lost games we really shouldn't have lost. We have given ourselves an uphill battle with defeat but it's all in our own hands at Old Trafford."
Form is in United's favour, for they are unbeaten in nine European home games, winning seven, since a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League round of 32 – Sir Alex Ferguson's final European fixture as a manager. Their Danish visitors, though, do not want their adventure to end.