Manchester United’s shock 2-1 defeat to Swiss minnows Young Boys means that nothing less than three points against Villareal at Old Trafford on Wednesday will be enough as they struggle to qualify from the UEFA Champions League Group F.
Villareal have the psychological upper hand over United having beaten them on May 26th in the Europa League final.
The situation is likely to be made harder by a potential crisis that is set to decimate the Red Devils’ first choice back four.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka received a red card against the Bern side so he will be suspended from the game, while both Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw piucked up injuries in yesterday’s defeat to Aston Villa that leave them also doubtful for the tie.
Solskjaer admitted after the Villa game that:
‘We will use tomorrow and Monday and we will get the scans done and see how they are. At the moment they don’t look okay for Wednesday, but we will see.’
If neither recovers in time, it will leave Raphael Varane as the only first choice defender available for the game.
Varane will have to play in a makeshift back line with players he has little or no experience of working with.
Diogo Dalot is expected to take the right back berth, with Victor Lindelof replacing Maguire as he did on Saturday and Alex Telles replacing Shaw.
Dalot and Telles played in the midweek Carabao Cup match against West Ham and performed quite well despite the defeat.
Some might argue that Maguire and Shaw’s performances against Aston Villa were shaky and that it might not do them any harm to be rested, but the problem could be the lack of practice that the replacement defence has as a unit.
Whilst there are still four more games to be played in Group F, there is little room for error.