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Manchester United vs Valencia: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Another defeat for Manchester United against Valencia on Tuesday would put genuine pressure on Ed Woodward to sack Jose Mourinho.

An ignominious 3-1 defeat to West Ham United came off the back of a 1-1 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a League Cup penalty shootout defeat to Derby County.

Put simply, Mourinho needs to see his players produce a response in the Champions League. Failure to do so would bring forward the day he is relieved of his managerial duties.

With that in mind, here are three players who the 55-year-old must start against Valencia.

Diogo Dalot

One of the few positives of this season so far has been Dalot, who produced an excellent display at right back against Young Boys and supplied a wonderful assist for Marouane Fellaini against Derby.

He has slotted right into the side – and indeed the pace of the game at this level – despite missing pre-season and only making his debut last month. Having missed the West Ham game, starting Dalot against Valencia is a no-brainer.


Bit by bit, Fred is starting to look like a player who could be indispensable for Man United. He was the side’s best player against Wolves and his substitute appearance against Derby injected life into an insipid performance.

It felt as if his touch-work had quickened. His perception of the game and relationship with teammates is evolving, and he will continue to improve.

Marcus Rashford

The youngster, returning from a three game ban, produced a substitute appearance against West Ham which at the very least got United back into the game, injecting pace into the team’s performance and scoring his first goal of the season.

It was the marked lack of movement from United which frustrated the most on Saturday. The same inertia against Valencia will allow Marcelino’s team to run riot. Rashford’s introduction out wide is therefore a no-brainer.

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