Manchester United still favourites, says Midtjylland boss Jess Thorup
MANCHESTER -- FC Midtjylland manager Jess Thorup insisted that Manchester United are still favourites to win the clubs' Europa League meeting on Thursday night.
Louis van Gaal's United side are 2-1 behind after the first leg of the round-of-32 match, which caused the Dutchman to urge a show of passion from the Premier League side's players at Old Trafford to avoid a defeat which many observers feel would be a miracle win for the Danish club.
"United are still favourites in my opinion but at least we have given ourselves a chance," Thorup said.
The Danish club's players were preparing to sample the sights of Old Trafford on Wednesday night to help avoid being overawed on Thursday. They have already taken part in one tactical training session, so the next meeting of the group will purely focus on the environment that surrounds them.
"Players can take selfies tonight, not tomorrow," Thorup said. "It's important that they are more relaxed and see it as a regular game. Maybe some guys are Man United fans but tomorrow they are players for FC Midtjylland."
The manager's career is on the up, having led Denmark Under-21s to the semifinals of the European Championship in their age group in 2015 and joined Midtjylland in the summer. The prospect of success for his men is already reviving memories of Denmark's triumph against the odds at Euro '92.
Thorup said: "We believe in this. If we don't have belief then we had better go back home tonight."
Captain Kristian Bach Bak vowed that the players will not be "shaky" when they take to the Old Trafford pitch. He also thinks that they perform better against English sides -- with their victories having included Manchester City and Southampton -- because of their style.
Bach Bak explained: "Napoli were much better than Southampton but British teams play more physical football. It's nice for our team. We love that. We love duels, we love power football."
Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.