Southampton vs Manchester United preview: Saints looking for redemption against Red Devils in penultimate Premier League clash

Southampton will look to get one over their EFL Cup Final vanquishers Manchester United on Wednesday night.

Southampton vs Manchester United preview: Saints looking for redemption against Red Devils in penultimate Premier League clash
Above: Dušan Tadić battling with Ander Herrera during their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United | Photo: Getty Images/Catherine Ivill

Southampton will be hopeful that they can regain some pride on Wednesday night, when they welcome their EFL Cup Final opponents Manchester United to the South Coast. 

Not a revenge mission 

Though Southampton remain a strong contender to finish in the top-half of the Premier League table it is can be a statistic that is flattering to deceive, with patchy form throughout the campaign which has brought pressure on manager Claude Puel. 

Saints have thrived in recent seasons under the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman who have gone onto bigger and better things, but fans have increasingly grown frustrated with the style of football that they are seeing on the South Coast. 

They finally returned to winning ways last Saturday with goals from Jay Rodriguez and Nathan Redmond giving them the 2-1 win over Middlesbrough, returning to winning ways will give them confidence that they can finally get one over the Red Devils after their Wembley heartache. 

The Saints were arguably the better side under the arch back in February but Zlatan Ibrahimović proved to be difference in the eventual 3-2 defeat, but Puel insisted that Wednesday's match will be not be seen as a mission to seek revenge. 

It's just another game," Puel said. "It's been a long time since the (EFL Cup) final against United." 

"The game is not revenge because it's important to keep a good energy," the coach stated. "To enjoy our football and just to focus about this not anything else."

All focus turning to Stockholm 

The EFL Cup victory could prove to be the first of a potential double for United, as José Mourinho looks to come out of their final two matches unscathed ahead of next Wednesday's Europa League final with Ajax. 

It has been a long and congested season for the Red Devils who have been battling on a number of fronts, but with just the one remaining avenue left for Champions League football it is clear that the coach will make some sacrifices in a league season that now lacks any incentive. 

Mourinho's prioritisation of the secondary European competition saw their recent 25-game unbeaten run come to an end with consecutive defeats to Arsenal and Tottenham, United a perfect record against the Saints this season and will be hopeful of having enough to maintain that on Wednesday night. 

Team News 

The Saints have no fresh injury concerns into the clash as they look to solidify their top-eight finish, the big news for fans will be the return of Virgil van Dijk to training but the Dutchman will be missing for their final two matches of the campaign. 

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy also continues his recovery from a hamstring injury with his own return to training, while Charlie Austin is in major contention to make his first start since his return from a long-term shoulder injury. 

The big omission for Mourinho will be the absence of midfidler Paul Pogba, the Frenchman was missing from Sunday's defeat and the coach confirmed his absence for this match on compassionate grounds after the recent death of his father. 

Mourinho also confirmed that Daley Blind would be rested for this clash as he looks to rest players for next Wednesday's final, Marouane Fellaini returns for selection after serving his three-match ban but Ibrahimović, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw and Timothy Fosu-Mensah all remain out. 


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