Saint Etienne manager Christophe Galtier has played down the importance of his side’s upcoming Europa League last 32 tie with Manchester United this month, labelling the encounter as the “least important” fixture over February.
Jose Mourinho’s men will face ASSE at home on the 16th for the first leg before travelling to France for the second leg on the 22nd.
The 54-year-old has made it clear on several occasions this season that, despite the competitions’s relative unpopularity, he will field a full-strength team during Europa League games.
Galtier, on the other hand, has taken a far more laid-back approach to the competition.
— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) February 7, 2017
Whether Galtier’s remarks are indeed genuine or instead just a really unsubtle form of mind games ahead of the clash with Mourinho remains to be seen, but supporters will hope that the manager’s evidently lackadaisical approach to the Europa League permeates the ASSE squad as well.
The French side currently occupy fifth spot in Ligue 1, now just one point off fourth spot after dismantling Lyon last weekend. And with winnable games against Lorient, Montpellier and Caen all surrounding the tie with United, one can certainly understand why Galtier would feel inclined to place more emphasis on domestic affairs in the next few weeks.