Manchester United will host Villarreal in the Champions League tomorrow at Old Trafford. Because of Manchester United’s loss in Switzerland against Young Boys, this makes the Villarreal a must win.
Manchester United currently sit at the bottom of their group table, it is only the second game, but a draw or a loss will put United in a really deep hole when they host Atalanta in a few weeks. Atalanta could have four points when they come to Old Trafford. They face Atalanta a couple of hours before the United match.
Plenty of eyes should be on that match, a draw in that match would be a good result for Manchester United. When asked about the difficulties of having no or only one point from two matches, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded the difficulties to having a bad start.
“If you end up with zero or one point from the first two games, you need to win the last four, probably. It’s still not a must-win game but it’s a very important game definitely. As I said after Young Boys, home games, if you get three wins at home and you win one away game, you should be through. The focus is on three points.”
“It’s a group stage, there’s only six games, you need 10, maybe 12 points to go through most likely and we lost three points last time. Atalanta and Villarreal drew last time too, Villarreal getting one point at home maybe isn’t enough for them to say a draw on Wednesday is good enough for them either. It’s two teams that will be going for three points.”
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It will not be easy for the Red Devil’s defensively. The acquisition of Raphael Varane in the summer does make things a lot easier, but the loss of Harry Maguire, the suspension of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the possibilities of Luke Shaw only being on the bench makes it somewhat challenging for Ole.
Especially at fullback. Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles might not be fully fit. Ole spoke about the possibility of changes in formation for Manchester United because of injury possibilities.
“But of course, the more injuries you get in defense, you might have to do tactical changes, formations – that can happen. I’ve got Eric [Bailly], Raphael [Varane], Victor [Lindelof] – three very good centre-backs that I can chose from and still Alex [Telles] and Diogo [Dalot] are not 100 per cent fit. Hopefully, Luke can be involved but we’re not sure yet.”
Scott McTominay and Fred look likely to start in the game in the midfield with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in front of them. Edinson Cavani could also get a start after making an appearance against Villa. Mason Greenwood could be dropped after a poor performance against Villa, but someone has to do some work.
“First of all, the stats for them two together, we’ve had many good results. The energy they give us, the way they broke up play against Villa. I think they’re very instrumental in that respect, they have energy [McTominay and Fred] and desire too. There’s two I can trust that can always give you what they’ve got.”
Manchester United have had a tough time lately after beating West Ham in the league. Losers of three of their last four games and no goals in two makes this match a high pressure match. Ole understands it and embraces it.
“That pressure is a privilege. To work in this environment, you have to embrace that pressure. If he says we need to win a trophy this season or next, well because of the backing, I have to say yes, I have been backed and the progress and the process has worked well.”