Manchester United have lost their last two away games and Jose Mourinho’s men cannot afford another set-back at Huddersfield Town ahead of their trip to Sevilla during the week.
Defeats to Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United have placed Mourinho’s selection choices – most notably his use of Paul Pogba in a midfield pivot – under scrutiny, with many crying out for a change in formation to engender greater fluidity moving forward.
Supporters will also hope to see a few key players handed a rest ahead of the trip to Spain and clash with Chelsea at home next weekend.
With that in mind, here are three players who Mourinho must start at the Kirklees Stadium on Saturday.
The defender has featured in both FA Cup games so far this season and Mourinho will most likely give him another chance to impress whilst resting Antonio Valencia, whose services will be paramount in Seville and against Chelsea next Sunday.
Some supporters, in the wake of consecutive disastrous away performances from Chris Smalling, have called on their boss to give Lindelof more opportunities after showing signs of acclimatising to life at Old Trafford towards the end of the year.
Another player who will likely receive a message is Nemanja Matic, paving the way for Michael Carrick – who made his first start since September against Yeovil Town in the last round – to continue his resurgence in the first team after such a prolonged period on the sidelines.
Man United lacked any kind of balance or control in the middle against Huddersfield back in October and were overwhelmed as a result. Having Carrick’s metronomic influence at the base of midfield ought to give them the stability they need to dominate the ball.
After a week of intensifying talk surrounding the Pogba’s position and relationship with his manager, the only effective way to respond is on the pitch.
The Frenchman was underwhelming at Wembley and St James’ Park – enough for social media to go into overdrive – but the visit to Huddersfield serves as an ideal chance for Pogba to set the record straight with a dominating performance.