A few hours away from Manchester Utd-Milan, Radio Rossonera had a quick chat with James Benge, correspondent for cbssports.com , who set out the Red Devils mood and moments.
Rashford has been, alongside Fernandes, crucial for United this season. How much impact will his absence have on tomorrow’s game?
I think it will be a hugely significant loss to be without Rashford. Of course Bruno Fernandes is United’s most important attacker but after that it has to be Rashford, who has that brilliant habit of performing at his best in the biggest games. Even in games where he is a bit quieter, like Sunday’s win over Manchester City, he can produce that moment of excellence like a composed assist for Luke Shaw in a crowded penalty area. Anthony Martial can do a lot of the work Rashford does on the left wing but if I had to rely on one of those two to play well in the biggest games it would absolutely be the latter.
How will United adapt to their many injuries and absences against A.C Milan?
I would not expect anything all that different to Man United’s usual system, a 4-2-3-1 with Bruno Fernandes playing at the No.10. If Edinson Cavani is fit you would assume it will be him as the centre forward with Martial to the left and one of Mason Greenwood or Daniel James on the right. If Cavani doesn’t make it then perhaps they will play an attacking midfield trio of James, Fernandes, Greenwood with Martial as the centre forward. They definitely have options to overcome those injuries even with the likes of Paul Pogba and Juan Mata being unavailable too. But without both Cavani and Rashford there’s going to be even more pressure on Fernandes. If Milan can stop him they’ll be well-placed to do well at Old Trafford.
Milan has been having a very positive season to this point, in stark contrast with the previous years. What is your opinion on this “rossoneri” side?
They have been a real breath of fresh air to European football. For the most part they’re a young, fearless team who don’t seem to feel the pressure of being the ones to bring Milan back to where they belong. I was lucky enough to speak to Rafael Leao earlier in the season and he spoke about how Stefano Pioli tells his players to enjoy what they are doing. I think that shines through in this team, even if they probably will get beaten by Inter to the Scudetto. I’m sure this is the start of a bright future.
This time last year Man United sat 5th in the table with 42 points. This year they are 2nd with 54, what aspect has been crucial for this improvement?
The simple answer is Fernandes and it’s probably the case that a lot of their improvements have been down to him. There have been games where he has won them points they didn’t pick up in the first half of the season. There have been other improvements as well. When United were really playing their best football this season Pogba was outstanding, playing off the left or in a deeper role. Luke Shaw’s revival has given them a real solidity in defence and a bit more in attack down the left whilst the Scott McTominay-Fred is reliable if not electrifying.
What do you think Man Utd’s intentions are regarding loanee Diogo Dalot?
I certainly don’t know for sure but there is a possibility that he could come back to offer back-up to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has needed some support at right-back. However in January United were looking at more experienced options to work alongside Wan-Bissaka so it’s not a given that they will look to bring Dalot back into the first team setup next season.