Manchester United players have hardly any time to deal with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure as they are directly back in action against Villarreal in a decisive Champions League match on Tuesday night.
Victory would guarantee United progress to the last 16 as Villarreal could no longer finish over them based on head-to-head records, but defeat would take it out of their hands on match day six. A draw is also not an ideal result as there is still too much at stake in the last game.
Michael Carrick will take responsibility for this as the United hierarchy goes through the process of appointing a real successor to Solskjaer.
This is all you need to know about the game …
When is kick off? Tuesday 23 November, 17:45 (GMT)Where is the match played? El MadrigalTV channel / livestream? BT Sport 3Highlights? BT Sport YouTube channelJudge? Felix Brych (GER)WHERE? Marco Fritz (GER)
Gerard Moreno is missing for VIllarreal / Quality Sport Images / GettyImages
Striker Gerard Moreno, who scored in the Europa League final in May, is out with a hamstring injury, and Boulaye Dia will continue as a replacement at the front.
Ex-Spurs right-back Serge Aurier is not qualified for this competition because he signed after the deadline for the team had already been submitted.
Villarreal predicted lineup (4-3-3): Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Parejo, Capoue, Coquelin; Pino, Dia, Danjuma
Donny van de Beek can get a chance to start / Eurasia Sport Images / GettyImages
Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane remain sidelined with injury, while Mason Greenwood will not be involved due to his positive covid-19 test late last week.
Edinson Cavani is still doubtful about fitness concerns, while Luke Shaw can also be considered in doubt due to another head injury against Watford. Harry Maguire is available because his red card in that match only means a domestic suspension.
Donny van de Beek may get a rare chance to start after being the only United player to impress against Watford. The same goes for Jesse Lingard, who hopes that Solskjaer’s exit can give him the opportunity he has been waiting for.
Read Man Utd’s expected line-up here.
The reverse match at Old Trafford earlier in the season was the sixth meeting between Manchester United and Villarreal, but the first to produce a winner in 90 or 120 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the last-minute goal at that time.
The Europa League final 2021 in May, which Villarreal won after completing an epic penalty shootout, was the first time a match between the two even had a goal as back-to-back group games in the Champions League 2005/06 and 2008/09 had all ended 0-0.
Can Michael Carrick do what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not do? / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / GettyImages
The big question here is how will Manchester United respond to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being fired? The reality is that not much else has changed – Michael Carrick has been promoted from assistant coach to caretaker and the rest of the staff is still the same.
Fans can only hope that the dismissal of the manager has brought the players to life. Sooner or later, some of them will play for their future at the club and they will have to start performing.
Prediction: Villarreal 1-1 Man Utd
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