Will Van Gaal start misfiring Wayne Rooney? Five talking points ahead of Manchester United's clash with Club Brugge
Published 25/08/2015 | 19:36
Manchester United take a 3-1 lead to Club Brugge for the second leg of their Champions League play-off. Here, we look at five key talking points ahead of Wednesday's match.
CAN LOUIS VAN GAAL'S MEN HOLD THEIR NERVE?
Moments after Marouane Fellaini had nodded in a 95th minute header at Old Trafford, Van Gaal was preaching a message of caution. "The players shall know now that Brugge is a very difficult club to beat," was the Dutchman's warning to his players. Still, it is easy to see why United are overwhelming favourites to progress. Michel Preud'homme's squad have been decimated by injury and they lost to unheralded Waregem in the Belgian league at the weekend.
WILL WAYNE ROONEY FINALLY SCORE?
Rooney stretched his goalless scoring streak to 10 United matches in Saturday's 0-0 draw against Newcastle. The United captain had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside call in the fourth minute but did little else to suggest he is in the kind of form that will help him deliver Van Gaal the 20 goals he needs from him this season.
WILL VAN GAAL MAKE ANY CHANGES?
Van Gaal dropped Rooney into the number 10 role when Javier Hernandez came off the bench on Saturday, but it is hard to see the manager pushing his captain into a deeper role from the kick-off. He has constantly maintained he sees Rooney as his number nine this season, so it would be foolish to see him anywhere but leading the line. Ashley Young could return to the starting XI in place of Adnan Januzaj, who faded after a bright start against the Magpies. Other than that, the only change Van Gaal could make is to bring Michael Carrick in for Bastian Schweinsteiger. Sergio Romero will continue in goal.
WHO IS CLUB BRUGGE'S DANGERMAN?
Victor Vazquez - an attacking midfielder who has been linked with a number of Spanish clubs this summer. Vazquez was in the same Barcelona youth team as Lionel Messi, but only made one start for the Catalan giants after graduating from La Masia. The 28-year-old was so impressive for Brugge last season that he won the league player of the year award. He also set up Brugge's only goal at Old Trafford, sending over the free-kick which Carrick turned into his own net.
WHAT IS GROUP QUALIFICATION WORTH?
In terms of prize money alone, United will earn just under £10million for qualifying for the group stage. Another £30million in prize money will follow if they win the competition. The same amount could follow from TV money, dependent on how the other English teams in the competition fare.