Europa League: Who did British sides get in last 32?
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When Manchester United face Real Sociedad in the first leg of their Europa League knockout tie on Thursday, Adnan Januzaj could line up against the Red Devils for the first time since his departure in 2017. The winger came through the academy at Old Trafford and burst onto the scene in David Moyes’ only season in charge, netting 5 goals and providing eight assists in 35 senior appearances in all competitions.
However, after Louis van Gaal replaced Moyes the following season, Januzaj struggled and failed to register a single goal or assist.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Januzaj recalled his time under Van Gaal, saying: “When I played my first season at United and came through the academy, people were showing me love.
“The coaches were letting me enjoy my football.
“Then obviously when a coach (Van Gaal) comes who doesn’t show you love, it gets more difficult to prove yourself and be happy.
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“When Sir Alex Ferguson was talking to us, he gave us a bit of hope. ‘Work hard, your time will come’.
“Even if you had a bad pass, Van Gaal would shout at you.
“For young players that isn’t good, you have to teach them.
“A coach is like a teacher, that’s what I missed the most.
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“It wasn’t only to me but also to other young players.To Memphis (Depay) also, he’s a great player and you can see he’s making a difference with Lyon in France.
“As young players we just had to sit there and wait for our opportunity to play for 10 or 15 minutes. Okay, we can show a glimpse of our quality but you cannot show how good you are.”
Januzaj believes he would have worked well under current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, adding: “You can see Ole is really nice and loves the players from the academy.
“For young players like Marcus [Rashford] they are very lucky to have a coach like that.
“When you are a young boy and you’re being criticised for things you never did – the coach’s excuse was that I wasn’t training very well – I couldn’t understand. You play like you train.
“If I was doing well in games, I don’t think I was that bad in training. People had a bad image of me and that’s the one regret, that I had lot people questioning my mentality.
“Van Gaal told me at the last minute that I could go on loan and I was rushed off to Germany.
“Maybe I went too early but I just wanted to play football. I didn’t want to be sat on the bench for six or seven games in a row.”
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