While thinking about a football match in the current climate may seem pointless, the Europa League final will be contested in Stockholm tonight between Ajax and Manchester United and for United, the game offers them a chance to join an elite group.
Tonight will mark United’s first appearance in a Europa League/UEFA Cup final and Europe’s secondary competition is the only European trophy the Red Devils are yet to win.
Bayern Munich, Juventus, Chelsea and this evening’s opponents Ajax are the only other four teams who have completed the continental treble.
The impressive accomplishment is one that cannot be matched by any other English team apart from Tottenham, who lifted the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1963 before winning two UEFA Cups, in 1972 and 1984 and Arsenal, who have a solitary Cup Winner’s Cup to their name, defeating Parma in the 1994 final thanks to an Alan Smith goal.
Victory tonight would also secure United a place in next season’s Champions League, which is vital for the club after spending a second season in three outside of the competition this term and not having secured qualification for next year’s tournament due to a sixth place finish in the Premier League.
Mourinho’s team are favourites against their youthful Dutch opponents, tonight, but have hardly convinced in previous rounds against Celta Vigo, Anderlecht and Rostov.