Fenerbahçe seeks success in Manchester
AA photoFenerbahçe will be chasing another historic success when the Istanbul club visits Manchester United on Oct. 20 for a Europa League game.
Fenerbahçe inflicted a first ever European home defeat on United back in 1996, when Elvir Bolic’s shot in the 78th minute found the net for a winner, while eight years later Wayne Rooney hit a hat-trick against the Istanbul club on his European debut.
Last season’s Turkish Super League runner-up has not been in good form so far in the season as it travels to England with former United striker Robin van Persie, now 33, in its ranks.
Fenerbahçe has garnered just nine points in seven league games, but it tops Europa League Group A with four points in two games.
On the United front, Wayne Rooney has insisted there is enough talent in the “fantastic” Manchester United squad to launch a serious challenge for the Premier League title despite a mixed start to the campaign.
United, which last won the league in 2013, has displayed flashes of brilliance under Jose Mourinho but its erratic performances have threatened to undermine the Portuguese manager’s maiden campaign at Old Trafford.
“I do think we’ll be challenging this season – we’ve still got that belief and it is even stronger after working with this manager and the players over the last few months,” Rooney told British media.
After suffering back-to-back defeats last month, a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions has raised spirits as seventh-placed United held rival Liverpool to a 0-0 draw on Oct. 17 to maintain a five-point gap behind leader Manchester City.
“I think we’ve got a fantastic squad that is ready and capable of challenging. I’m sure over the next few weeks or couple of months we will have our way of playing, and it will be [Mourinho’s] way of playing. It is a different way of playing, but if you’re an individual you should learn what the manager wants. As a team, it’s going to take a little bit longer. We knew it was going to take a bit of time.”
Following his world-record move to United in August, midfielder Paul Pogba has yet to live up to his hefty price tag, but Rooney is confident that once the Frenchman adapts to the rigors of English football, he will be well worth the outlay.
“Paul is a fantastic player, I think he is working hard and he is doing well,” the England international added of the former Juventus star. “It is a different league to what he’s been used to – he didn’t really play last time when he was here so this is all new. He is a fantastic player and he will shine for us this season there is no doubt.”
Also on Oct. 20, Osmanlıspor, which has won all four of its European home games this season without conceding, welcomes Villarreal, which is yet to lose in four encounters with Turkish sides.
The third Turkish club in the Europa League, Konyaspor, will be seeking its first goal and points when it hosts Portugal’s Braga.