English football giants Manchester United shall be locking horns against Dutch powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam in the grand final of the Europa League at Stockholm on Wednesday. Manchester United would like to put a disappointing domestic season behind them and look to end the season on a high note by clinching their maiden Europa League title.
Coach Jose Mourinho would like to add to a piece of silverware to the United trophy cabinet after the Red Devils ended their league campaign at the sixth place, missing out on an automatic Champions League spot. However, they can turn around their fortunes and book a Champions Trophy berth for next season by annexing the title in Stockholm tonite.
Mourinho has made his priorities clear in recent weeks by resting players for league fixtures, but he claims United's injury problems left him with no choice. "It was not a gamble. It was a simple decision," said Mourinho, who picked a team with an average age of 22 years and 284 days for Sunday's season-ending 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace.
Manchester United didn't have the easiest run to the finals as they lost their first two away games, against Feyenoord and Fenerbahce, needed extra time to beat Anderlecht in the quarter-finals and were given a scare by Celta Vigo in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Ajaz shall be featuring in the finals for the first time since losing out in a penalty shootout to Italian giants Juventus in 1995-96 Champions League. The Ajax squad has some exciting young guns who have proved their mantle on the big stage in Europe, taking their team all the way to the finals.
So the Europa League finals has all the ingredients to be a mouthwatering encounter as the two heavyweights battle for Europe's second most coveted trophy in club football.