Astana went into this match already knowing they would not advance to the next stages of the competition, having not being able to register a single point in the previous four matches in the group. Manager Roman Hryhorchuk was adamant though, that his side would take the match against Manchester United seriously, even if they have subsequently already been eliminated from the competition. That being said, because their league season has subsequently finished (Astana won the league for the sixth year in the row, beating title rivals Kairat by one point), Hryhorchuk put out a notably weaker squad, with a mix of experienced players and young stars. After their final match in the Europa League against FK Partizan in December, their season will be over by March.
On the other hand, Ole Gunner Solskjær opted to take a very young squad to Nur-Sultan to take on Astana in the matchday five of the UEFA Europa League. It was clear that he felt that the 6000-kilometre trip was not worth risking members of the senior squad. Manchester United are in a race to finish in the top four in the Premier League, and after the match against Aston Villa this coming weekend, a match that will be quite tough in its own right, they are scheduled to play against Tottenham, with former coach José Mourinho at the helm, and then an away trip to the Etihad Stadium against current Champions, Manchester City. With a tough schedule coming up, Solskjær opted to instead leave most of his senior squad back in Manchester.
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