Rostov are seventh in their domestic league at the mid-season winter break, having won two of their previous eight league matches. A 4-0 first-leg victory against last-32 opponents Sparta Prague set up a comfortable 5-1 aggregate win and booked their first meeting against three-time European champions United. They dropped into the Europa League after finishing third in a Champions League group containing Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven. "They had a very good Champions League campaign," added Mourinho. "They beat Ajax and Anderlecht in qualifiers, managed important results against Bayern and Atletico, got third position to knock PSV out. "The team is very defensive and physical. A bad draw."