Manchester United begin life without Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Tuesday and caretaker manager Michael Carrick has a number of selection dilemmas for his first starting XI
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- 08:00, 23 Nov 2021
Michael Carrick will take charge of his first match as caretaker manager of Manchester United on Tuesday.
The Red Devils face Villarreal in the Champions League with the chance to seal their place in this season's knockout stages.
Three points would guarantee United's spot but a draw would be enough if Atalanta and Young Boys also share the points in the other Group F match.
Carrick, placed in temporary charge after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday, will be hoping to get a tune out of a host of Red Devils stars who have lost their way in recent weeks, with many faltering in a fatal 4-1 defeat to strugglers Watford.
The former United midfielder's first task in Spain is selecting a starting XI, having won the Europe's first-rate competition himself under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2008.
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Carrick has been handed the reigns as caretaker manager
United are without Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Mason Greenwood, while Luke Shaw has been left at home to nurse his concussion.
Carrick will likely stick with former team-mate David de Gea in goal, with the Spaniard in better form that most of his fellow players this term.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka should keep his place, while Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire are expected to retain their respective spots at the heart of defence.
If the caretaker boss wanted to freshen things up at the back, though, Eric Bailly is available.
Despite Diogo Dalot being the man to replace Shaw against Watford, Alex Telles is a more natural fit at left-back and scored a thunderbolt in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford back in September to ignite a comeback.
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Scott McTominay was withdrawn at half-time on Saturday but, due to Fred's lack of form and the fact Nemanja Matic rarely starts two successive matches, is in line to start feature from the off once more.
That may well mean that, at long last, Donny van de Beek is handed a place in the first XI having scored the last goal of the Solskjaer era to demonstrate his ability driving forward.
As expected, Edinson Cavani has not travelled but Carrick could call on the experience of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard if he wants to stabilise the sinking ship.
Jadon Sancho looked bright and deserves to keep his spot, while Anthony Martial's second half performance at Vicarage Road gave no reason as to why he should be preferred ahead of Marcus Rashford.
Up front, Cristiano Ronaldo will surely lead the line for the Red Devils at Villarreal's Estadio de la Ceramica.
Have your say! What would your starting XI be? Get involved below.
Man Utd will reach the knockout stages with a win
Carrick faced reporters in his pre-match press conference on Monday, with an interim manager expected to be appointed until the end of the campaign in the coming weeks.
Despite the solemn mood around Old Trafford, the 40-year-old says United head onto mainland Europe with a positive mindset.
"It's a big game tomorrow and I'll go about the job as I do," Carrick explained.
"We're positive. It's a fantastic game of football and we'll be tested, but these are the nights to remember. I'm really looking forward to it.
"I'm not giving too much away, but I'm very clear in my own mind about how we're going to go about it."
Man Utd predicted XI vs Villarreal: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, van de Beek; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo
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