By Carl Markham, PA
Real Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil is confident his side can compete against Manchester United despite the vast gulf in resources.
Their Old Trafford hosts spent more than £200million in the summer as new manager Erik ten Hag looked to improve the squad he inherited while the LaLiga club’s outlay was a more modest £40m – less than half of what Ajax striker Antony cost the Red Devils.
La Real, currently ninth in LaLiga, have yet to score in four meetings with United, although on their last visit they left with a goalless draw, albeit after a 4-0 first-leg defeat in San Sebastian.
But Alguacil, who was also in charge then and is leading the club in their third successive Europa League campaign, is undeterred.
“I want to show what we are capable of doing, what we are about, show our personality even though we are facing one of the best teams in Europe and a team that should be in the Champions League,” he said.
“We are facing history, given the great squad they have. It is true they have spent a lot, that’s the club they are.
“But you play games on a pitch and the two teams out there have 11 players each.
“Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in Europe but if you want to beat a team like Manchester United you have to be brave or you have very few options to win the game.
“It is us that need to take the initiative even though we are playing a team which likes to do the same.
“To be honest I wouldn’t like to play for the draw, putting men behind the ball.
“I would prefer to lose and be a team who has given it a go regardless of the team we are facing.”