Final Preview: Ajax v Manchester United

Ajax and Manchester United will be battling it out for the Europa League trophy and a Champions League berth when they clash in Solna, Sweden, on Wednesday.

Europa League

24 May 2017


Kick-off: 20H45 (GMT 2)

Venue: Friends Arena 

Referee: D. Skomina

Assistants: J. Praprotnik, R. Vukan

Fourth official: G. Rocchi

Head-to-head summary: 


Ajax 2 1 0 1
Manchester United 2 1 0 1 

Previous encounter: 

Manchester United 1-2 Ajax (23/02/12) Europa League

Manchester United goalscorers: J. Hernández (6')

Ajax goalscorers: A. Özbiliz (37'), T. Alderweireld (87')

Players to watch: 

Kasper Dolberg has been leading the charge for Ajax in the Europa League this campaign, netting six goals and assisting in another.

United may look to the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba to provide the inspiration in the final third. Mkhitaryan has scored five Europa League goals this season, while Pogba has bagged two.

Team form and manager quotes: 

The Red Devils come into the game following a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in their final Premier League fixture. They finished their domestic campaign in sixth place, which means winning the Europa League is their only means of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Jose Mourinho's charges progressed to the final thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory over Celta Vigo in the semi-finals, while Ajax beat Lyon 5-4 on aggregate in their last-four tie.

Ajax won three of their last four games across all competitions, beating Lyon 4-1, Go Ahead Eagles 4-0, and Willem II 3-1 in their most recent outing. The defeat came against Lyon in the away leg of their semi-final.

This is the first Europa League final in which the Dutch side have competed, although they have won the Champions League trophy, back in 1995.

When asked whether he was surprised by the youthful Ajax team's success in the Europa League this season, Mourinho told the press: "I wasn't surprised, I really don't know why you are surprised they reached the final.

"The age of players isn't important, the quality is important. I think Ajax make the right investments at the right times.

"Ajax has a very good scouting and education system. These talented players don't arrive at Ajax by accident.

"I don't know [Ajax boss Peter Bosz] too well, but when I see Ajax play I think he has done fantastic work."

Meanwhile, Bosz told the press ahead of the tie: "I feel no pressure just a lot of opportunities everyone dreams of these games so no pressure just a big opportunity.

"It's true, both teams big clubs in Europe with a big history they have more experience more money but we have fantastic players."

Team news:

Ajax will have to do without defender Daley Sinkgraven, who has a knee injury, while Nick Viergever is unavailable due to a suspension.

United are set to be without long-term absentee Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Ashley Young is also sidelined through injury and defender Eric Bailly is suspended.