Cristiano Ronaldo left Man Utd training early amid Aston Villa preparations

Cristiano Ronaldo was forced out of training on Thursday

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Ralf Rangnick may have to shuffle his attacking options

Ralf Rangnick's side need to get their season firing if they are to make the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

Ronaldo's absence will open the door for a new striker partnership, should the interim boss stick to the 4-2-2-2 formation he has used since arriving.

Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani will be all be eyeing starting berths.

Ronaldo, the club's top scorer, has accepted that performances have been below par, with little change since Rangnick replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He said: “Let's be honest. The last five or six games, do you think Manchester United played very well? No.

“You know that, everyone knows that. We have – how can I say? – time to improve .

“We have a squad with potential, a new manager, why don't we believe we can do better?

“You have to believe, you have to be positive to try to change things and to play how Manchester United fans want and the history of the club.”

The 36-year-old has also highlighted his ambitions, claiming United must be a top three side in England.

Man Utd beat Aston Villa earlier this week

Currently they are 11 points away from Liverpool in third.

"I don't accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League," he told Sky Sports.

"I think to build up good things, sometimes you have to destroy a few things. So why not – new year, new life and I hope that Manchester (United) can be the level that the fans want. They deserve that.

"I don't want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I'm here to try to win, to compete."

United's trophy drought dates back to 2017 whilst they have won the league since 2013.