Club Brugge coach Michel Preud’homme said on Tuesday that his side require a “perfect” performance if they are to achieve the “miracle” of eliminating Manchester United in the Champions League.
United go into Wednesday’s play-off round second leg in Bruges leading 3-1 from the first leg, when Memphis Depay scored a brace and set up an injury-time header for Marouane Fellaini after Club Brugge had taken a shock lead courtesy of a Michael Carrick own goal.
The Belgian side overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Panathinaikos in the previous qualifying round by winning 3-0 at the Jan Breydel Stadium, but Preud’homme struck a pessimistic tone at his pre-match press conference.
“It would be a great miracle,” said the former Belgium goalkeeper.
“They are two goals in front, they have a very professional team, can make a decision by an action at each moment and we have some problems with the number of players that were already out in the first leg, plus Timmy Simons and Brandon Mechele.
“To have a small chance we need to be better in our last pass and if we have a chance, it has to be a goal. Sometimes you have a small opening and if you don’t make the action very quickly, they are all back.
“If we want to have a chance, we have to be perfect.”
Mechele will be suspended on Wednesday after being sent off for two bookable offences in last week’s first leg, while experienced captain Simons misses out after sustaining a thigh injury at Old Trafford.
The 38-year-old joins Stefano Denswil, Bjorn Engels, Lior Refaelov, Felipe Gedoz, Bernie Ibini and Jose Izquierdo on the sidelines, but Tom De Sutter has been passed fit to play after missing the 2-0 loss to Zulte-Waregem at the weekend through illness.
Should he feature against United, it will be his last game before linking up with Turkish side Bursaspor, and the 30-year-old striker is determined to sign off in style.
“You always have to believe,” he said. “Everything is possible in football, so why not now? If you don’t believe, you’d better not play the game.”