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When Manchester United Played Anderlecht Last Time They Lost 2-1

When Manchester United Played Anderlecht Last Time They Lost 2-1

Manchester United will be favourites for their Europa League game against Anderlecht in Brussels tonight but they should be warned that a better United side than them have struggled before.

With Jose Mourinho's team seemingly unable to win at home this season his team's best chance of getting back into the Champions League next season seems to lie in winning the Europa League.

Last time United were in the Champions League they were knocked out in the group stages. Image: PA Images

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Of course it is a minimum requirement for United to get back into the big leagues, especially after Paul Pogba signed for £89 million and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was brought in to bolster the attack, but it's looking far from easy.

Tonight United face Anderlecht with the Belgian side sitting top of their league at the moment. United head into the match as favourites but the same can be said of the side managed by Sir Alex Ferguson in October 2000.

It was in the Champions League and United's penultimate game of the first group stage when they played Anderlecht. The squad would go on to win their third Premier League title in a row in May 2001 and it was a pretty strong side that night:

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Not a bad team that. Image: PA Images

When United hosted their opposition in Manchester just a month earlier United had been totally dominant, winning 5-1, Andy Cole scoring a hatrick and Dennis Irwin and Teddy Sheringham adding the others.

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However in October future Everton striker Tomasz Radzinski, who signed for the Toffees the next season, was chief tormentor scoring two first half goals with only Fabien Barthez in top form stopping the Belgian's being even further ahead at half time.

Dennis Irwin gave the Premier League side hope with a penalty late in the second half but they could find no past Anderlecht and with no goals for either side in the second half they lost 2-1.

Image: PA Images

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That whole season was a struggle for United away from home in Europe and the loss on October 24th left them in genuine trouble in qualifying for the next group phase, yep there were two group stages in the Champions League back then.

A win over Dynamo Kyiv in the last fixture at Old Trafford put them through but that season they lost to Anderlecht, PSV and Bayern Munich and drew with Kyiv, Panathinaikos and Valencia all away, only beating Sturm Graz.

It's a warning to a United side who have already lost twice away from Manchester in Europe this season.

Ryan Sidle

Ryan is a writer for SPORTbible. He covers all sport from football, formula one, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics, mma and wrestling. He obviously hates YOUR football team and has no interest in synchronised swimming.