Manchester United practice match provides a surprise before Europa League final

Man United's final training session before the Europa League final was available to watch in its entirety and threw up a tactical surpri...

Man United's final training session before the Europa League final was available to watch in its entirety and threw up a tactical surprise.


A manager would prefer to keep his cards close to his chest on the eve of a Europa League final and time will tell if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed his hand on Tuesday night.

Manchester United's final training session at Gdansk Stadion was visible to everyone inside the stadium. Usually, Uefa limit open training to 15 minutes but the Covid climate determined everyone present had to be outdoors, with no designated media working room.

Whether you were pitchside or had a bird's eye view from the press tribune, United's session was available to watch in its entirety. Harry Maguire, unable to train, stewed in the dugout before he headed down the tunnel, all but confirming his place in the stands on Wednesday night.

Clearly conscious of the audience present, Solskjaer gave nothing away during the short practice match. The teams read:

Henderson, Williams, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Shaw, Van de Beek, Pogba, James, Shoretire, Amad, and Cavani versus De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Matic, Telles, McTominay, Mata, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, and Elanga. Fred donned a neutral bib, switching sides depending on which one had the ball.

Tuanzebe and Bailly were paired together on the final day of the Premier League season against Wolves and they continued to duel on the same side to make the final. Their team kept a clean sheet in the game that Daniel James scored twice in.

The match was largely devoid of physical contact, with Solskjaer doubtless determined to avoid an unnecessary scare. Bailly received rigorous treatment in the centre circle as the session wound down but walked off unaided. None of the players left the pitch with an obvious injury.

The session lasted around 50 minutes, with Nemanja Matic surprisingly joining the central defensive department in the absence of Maguire. Although Matic has dropped back there before, nobody is seriously expecting him to usurp Bailly or Tuanzebe.

Maguire emerged after all of his teammates and hid under the dugout. He was eventually joined by Solskjaer, who broke off from watching first-team training to sit next to his captain. Maguire headed down the tunnel around 15 minutes into the session but re-emerged, clad in a coat.

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