Sevilla head coach Jose Luis Mendilibar believes Marcus Rashford is “one of the best players” around but says his potential return will not alter their approach against Manchester United.
The 25-year-old has recovered from a difficult campaign in stunning fashion, scoring 28 goals in all competitions before pulling up injured against Everton 11 days ago.
Rashford missed last week’s chaotic, and potentially costly, 2-2 first-leg draw with Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals but there is a chance he will return in Spain on Thursday.
The England international trained with his team-mates ahead of the trip to Seville, where he scored a stunner as United won 1-0 at city rivals Real Betis in the previous round.
“Well, Rashford is one of the best players nowadays – but we’re not going to change our mentality or idea if Rashford plays or not,” head coach Mendilibar said.
“We have to think about ourselves, respecting the opposite team but we don’t have to think about particular players.
“If Rashford plays, it’s because he’s ready. If he’s not, another top player will play there.”
Sevilla are understandably confident heading into the second leg given the way last week’s match ended at Old Trafford.
Completely outplayed in the first half, Mendilibar’s side grew into the match and snatched a last-gasp 2-2 draw thanks to late Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire own goals.
“It’s going to be a tough game. For me, we are tied 50-50. It’s true that the fans will help us but on the pitch it’s going to be 11 v 11 players.
“They played so many times in this competition, quarter-finals, so seriously I don’t think it’s going to be an easy game and that’s what the players are thinking now.”
Sevilla have won the Europa League on a record six occasions, most recently lifting it in 2020 having beaten United in a one-legged semi-final in Cologne.
Nemanja Gudelj was part of that victorious team and is looking for another memorable win as the Andalusians continue to kick on under Mendilibar from a challenging LaLiga season.
“Sevilla always wants to win every game,” he said. “Even though we know we had a difficult season, especially in the beginning, we view every game as a final and the next final that’s coming is the game tomorrow.”