De Gea left at home by Manchester United

Goalkeeper will not feature in Champions League qualifier against Brugge

Brugge manager Michel Preud’homme: “To get a miracle, you need to be perfect and you need the other to not play at his best potential. We have a lot of players out, too.” Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Brugge manager Michel Preud’homme: “To get a miracle, you need to be perfect and you need the other to not play at his best potential. We have a lot of players out, too.” Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

 

Louis van Gaal has left Real Madrid target David de Gea out of his squad for the second leg of Manchester United’s Champions League play-off against Club Brugge.

Sergio Romero and Sam Johnstone are the only two goalkeepers who have travelled to Belgium for the second leg of the tie, which stands at 3-1 in United’s favour following the first leg at Old Trafford.

Defenders Phil Jones (thrombosis) and Marcos Rojo (lacking match fitness) have been left at home, as have Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett, Antonio Valencia, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, James Wilson and Anders Lindegaard.

Brugge manager Michel Preud’homme believes his side will need divine intervention to prevent United from claiming a spot in the group stage.

With his team 3-1 down from the first leg at Old Trafford, Preud’homme was keen to play down his their chances of pulling off an upset.

The former Belgium goalkeeper refused to bang the drum at his pre-match press conference. Passion subsided in the face of realism.

Indeed his assessment was so bleak that he concluded something miraculous was needed to stop United from advancing to the group stage.

“Miracles happen sometimes, but they are two goals in front and they are a very professional team,” Preud’homme said.

“To get a miracle, you need to be perfect and you need the other to not play at his best potential. We have a lot of players out, too.

“If we want to have a chance, we have to be perfect. It will be very difficult, but let’s pray.”

The reason for Preud’homme’s pessimism is clear. As the 56-year-old says, his squad is ravaged by injury with eight players, including the suspended Brandon Mechele, unavailable.

The club’s top striker, Tom De Sutter, who scored 13 goals last term, will complete his transfer to Turkish club Bursaspor on Thursday.

It could be the last game for star playmaker Victor Vazquez too as he has been the subject of interest from several Spanish clubs.

“The player has to manage it,” the Brugge coach said of Vazquez, who supplied the assist for the Belgian club’s only goal at Old Trafford, which came off the shin of Michael Carrick.

“We’re in the period of the last week before the end of the transfer period. It’s always the same story each year.”

Not even an early goal will necessarily help swing the tie in Brugge’s favour either, according to their coach.

“This United team can live with pressure,” Preud’homme said.

“They have it each day, each minute in each game. When you see this team playing, they play on their quality, against Tottenham, against Newcastle, against us. They keep doing the same.

“I don’t think they’ll have more pressure if we score, but it’s important for our confidence if we score.”

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