Did you know Neil Lennon is in charge of Manchester United's Europa League opponents tonight?

Neil Lennon Manchester United Europa League
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United will line up for their third Europa League group match tonight against Omonia Nicosia, and a familiar face to British viewers will be sitting in the opposition dugout. 

Former Celtic, Hibs and Bolton manager Neil Lennon is in charge of the Cypriot side, and is eager to cause an upset against Manchester United in tonight's fixture. 

He told the Daily Record (opens in new tab) : "We are all very excited about playing Manchester United for a number of reasons, obviously because they are one of the biggest clubs in the world. It will be a great experience for my players and some of them are Manchester United supporters.

"They are huge around the world so we welcome them here. However, we want to compete and get something out of the game. They have beaten Liverpool and Arsenal recently and they seem to have sorted themselves out after a poor start and they have steadied the ship. 

"But every team is beatable on any given day so we must believe we can win. We must endeavour to get something out of the game to give ourselves a foothold in the group."

After leaving Celtic for the second time in February 2021, with the club miles behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership, Lennon took a year's sabbatical from working in football. In March 2022, though, he returned, this time with Omonia Nicosia, to replace three-time Premier League winner Henning Berg. 

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring in FC Sheriff 0-2 Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League on 15 September, 2022 at the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau, Moldova

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against APOEL Nicosia in 2017 – now he could score against their city rivals (Image credit: Oleg Bilsagaev/Getty Images)

Lennon helped the club win the Cypriot Cup in May, beating Ethnikos Achna on penalties in the final, leading to their qualification for the Europa League. In the summer the Northern Irishman then proceeded to recruit three British players he has previously worked with: striker Gary Hooper (Celtic), full-back Adam Matthew (Celtic) and winger Brandon Barker (Hibs). 

Hooper joined Omonia from New Zealand outfit Wellington Phoenix, while Matthews most recently plied his trade in League One with Charlton Athletic. Barker, formerly of Manchester City, arrived in Cyprus from Reading. 

The wonderfully named Charalambos Charalambous also played in Arsenal's youth team, before turning professional with Omonia Nicosia in 2018, while ex-Blackburn player Matt Derbyshire played out in Cyprus for four years, scoring 62 goals for I Basilissa.

Charalambos Charalambous of Omonia Nicosia is challenged by Ander Guevara of Real Sociedad during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Real Sociedad and Omonia Nikosia at Reale Arena on September 15, 2022 in San Sebastian, Spain.

Does Charalambos Charalambous have the greatest name in football? Perhaps… (Image credit: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Omonia Nicosia are without a point on the board after the opening two rounds of Europa League fixtures, losing 3-0 to Sheriff Tiraspol and 2-1 to Real Sociedad. However, the team will welcome players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane to their 22,859 capacity GSP Stadium, looking to cause an upset with Neil Lennon in charge. 

Indeed, Manchester United have actually played at the stadium before, in the 2002-03 Champions League group stage against Maccabi Haifa, with the game forced to be played at a neutral ground. United were embarrassed that night 3-0, and will want to ensure a repeat of events doesn't occur. 

While Lennon has never managed against Manchester United, he was part of a Celtic side that beat them in the 2006/07 Champions League group stage at Parkhead. 

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