Europa League final has lost its 'glow,' says Ajax coach

Posted May 24, 2017

Mourinho led United's players onto the field at Friends Arena, the venue for the final, for a short team walk on Tuesday evening. The last two months have been hard going, with a game every three or four days as a outcome of United going deep in every competition it entered. With Ajax already guaranteed a place in the Champions League play-off for their second placed Eredivisie finish, this game is of much more significance for United, especially given Mourinho's discard for the Premier League.

"Members of our family of fans and our home community have been affected and we will be reaching out to provide the support of the club in what must be an unimaginably hard time, " Woodward wrote United were due to fly to Stockholm, scene of the final, later on Tuesday, but the club cancelled their pre-match press conference scheduled to take place at the city's Friends Arena.

Few Europa League Finals, if any, either in its present or former guise as the Uefa Cup, has felt as important and momentous as this one.

But their relative inexperience and poor away record in the tournament would suggest that they may struggle against a disciplined, physical United side that desperately needs a big win to salvage their season.

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Mourinho rested several key players ahead of the crunch clash with the Dutch giants.

"It was not a gamble".

England's Football Association said extra armed officers would be deployed for Saturday's FA Cup final between Arsenal and Premier League champions Chelsea at London's Wembley Stadium. Meanwhile Liverpool made €37.8m for reaching the final of the Europa League. Failure to add a second trophy to the League Cup win in February would put Mourinho under pressure. Britain's Chris Wood, the defending champion, added: "It's awful". It would also reduce the club's power to attract top talent in the summer transfer window.

Though he denies it, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has gambled the club's season on the outcome of Wednesday's Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm. However, they've been dominant at the soon to be Johan Cruyff Arena.

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That philosophy is hardly new to Ajax.

Edwin van der Sar and Marc Overmars are on the board of directors, while Dennis Bergkamp is one of Bosz's assistants. Mourinho is primarily a pragmatic manager, preferring defence as the best form of attack and has consequently kept seven clean sheets in the 13 finals he's coached.

The 33-time Dutch champions are reaping the benefits from the project, which began four years ago. Even the average age of the starting lineup for the second leg of Ajax' semifinal in Lyon was 22.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Ajax's Kasper Dolberg - both 19 years old - will look at the final as the ideal stage to create an impact in world football.

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