Marcos Rojo has backed his Manchester United team-mates to kickstart the club’s title challenge at Swansea on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s side head to the Liberty Stadium in need of a shot in the arm, having failed to win their last four Premier League matches.
It saw United enter the weekend seven points off the top-four after just 10 games, leading scrutiny to mount on a side whose flashes of brilliance have been overshadowed by poor displays like Thursday’s in Turkey.
Fenerbahce struck early and deservedly ran out 2-1 victors in the Europa League encounter, leading Mourinho to accuse his players of approaching it like a “summer friendly”.
The Portuguese will be in the stands on Sunday due to a one-match touchline ban, but Rojo, one of the starters in Istanbul, hopes to improve his manager’s mood and United’s title chances.
“Going to the Liberty Stadium hasn’t gone too well for us in the last few seasons,” the Argentina defender said. “It’s a difficult place to go to.
“They are a strong team, but we need to go there with the intention of getting the three points. We need to keep getting the three points and victories to maintain our challenge to finish at the top of the league.
“Obviously, with the international break, you’re looking at quite a long period of time before you get to the next league match. It can happen where you lose tempo, or perhaps the rhythm isn’t quite there.
“So, before the international break, you of course always want to go out there with a solid victory before you go to join up with the international team.”
United will be without the suspended Ander Herrera in Wales, while fellow midfielder Paul Pogba is a doubt following a heavy tackle on Thursday and right-back Antonio Valencia is definitely out after undergoing surgery on an arm.
The latter’s injury compounds defensive problems for Mourinho, with Eric Bailly, so impressive since joining from Villarreal, sidelined for two months and Chris Smalling struggling with a foot complaint.
Rojo could therefore retain his place in United’s rejigged defence against Swansea, which would pit him against an old friend.
The United defender plays for Argentina alongside Swansea defender Federico Fernandez, but their relationship goes much further back.
The duo came through the youth ranks together at Estudiantes, where they helped the club win the 2009 Copa Libertadores and an Argentine Primera Division title.
“He’s someone that I have known a long time,” Rojo told MUTV.
“”For 12 or 13 years we have been friends, we were champions together in Argentina. We’ve got quite a history together. It’s going to be a big match, but, once we get on the pitch, he’s the opposition.
“Outside of football though, we do have a good and lasting friendship.”