herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Hernandez excited to face Euro heavyweights Ajax

IT MIGHT be a Thursday night on 3e, but Manchester United's clash with Ajax does sound like a Champions League game.

Striker Javier Hernandez accepts the Red Devils would have preferred to be in the premier UEFA competition this week.

However, if they are to make their Europa League bow, there are few more famous names to do it against than the Dutch giants, who, with four European Cups to their name, have one more than the Red Devils.

"Both teams have come out of the Champions League and they both have a great history," said Hernandez.

"We have won a lot of European Cups between us, so it will be a very interesting game.

"We need to get used to the fact we are not in the Champions League.

"And the history of Manchester United is such that it doesn't matter which competition you are in, we want to win it, no matter who else is in it, or whether it is an important trophy for other teams."

That Manchester City are potential opponents in the quarter-finals and beyond does give this European excursion added spice, even if a failure to beat Benfica or Basle in any of four group matches is not European form to get anyone worrying.

And, having maintained closer contact to City in the Premier League than most pundits expected on the night of that debacle in Switzerland, Alex Ferguson may well take the chance to rest key men before the domestic campaign resumes at Norwich on February 26.

That could offer an opportunity for Hernandez, whose appearances this term have been limited due to a combination of injury and Danny Welbeck's outstanding form.

"It has been frustrating because I have been injured a lot," he said.

"But there are some things you can't do anything about.

"I am happy and I am enjoying it. It is a privilege to play for Manchester United, whether things are going good or bad, I want to keep that attitude."

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