Louis van Gaal has taken a youthful Manchester United squad to Denmark to face FC Midtjylland this week but such faith could prove his final undoing as the Red Devils boss.
The United gaffer, like captain Wayne Rooney, has indicated that a Europa League triumph might just be the Old Trafford club’s best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, with United currently six points adrift of the Premier League’s top four.
However, with the likes of Rooney and Marouane Fellaini ruled out of the trip to Scandinavia Van Gaal has named youngsters including Regan Poole, Joe Riley, Donald Love, Paddy McNair, Andreas Pereira and James Weir in his squad.
While putting faith in youth is something of a calling card for Van Gaal with his side in a precarious position this season this could be an experiment too far, especially with Midtjylland boasting a decent record against British sides.
While 6-1 and 4-0 wins over Bangor and victories by 5-2 and 3-1 scorelines against TNS will hardly strike fear into even the youngest of United’s prospects a 1-0 win over Manchester City in 2008 and another by the same scoreline against Southampton last year shows that the underdogs are not to be underestimated.
United go into the game as 8/13 favourites, with the hosts on at 19/4 and the draw available at 13/5.
However, better value could be had in backing Jose Mourinho to replace Van Gaal before the end of February at 5/1 should the Danes improve their already-impressive showing against British sides.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.