Manchester United vs Benfica: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United can secure their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2013 with a win over Benfica on Tuesday night.

Jose Mourinho’s men begun their campaign with a 3-0 win over FC Basel before claiming deserved wins away to CSKA Moscow and Benfica.

An emphatic win against the bottom side in Group A combined with a Basel defeat at home to CKSA Moscow would cement Man United’s place at the top of the group.

Here are three players Mourinho must start ahead of the clash with the Portuguese champions.

Ashley Young

The Englishman brings both a cool head and an element of fight whenever he starts at full-back – something encapsulated by his superbly athletic, competitive display against Tottenham Hotspur and winding up tactics on Dele Alli, who went on to miss a sitter.

Ever since a dominating performance against FC Basel, Young has been one of the most reliable aspect of this Mourinho side and the boss will likely start him on the right hand side whilst resting Antonio Valencia.

Jesse Lingard

Henrikh Mkhitaryan drew another blank in all respects against Tottenham, unable to feed players outside of him and generally lacking an air of conviction or purpose on the ball, and Mourinho may feel inclined to give the Englishman another chance to impress at No.10 against Benfica.

The 24-year-old was a live wire in the 2-0 win over Swansea City last week and did more from the bench than what Mkhitaryan managed all game against Spurs, sending over a pin-point cross that Lukaku hit against the bar.

Anthony Martial

Once again, it was the Frenchman adding a touch of class and precision late on at Old Trafford last weekend – this time to secure a vital win rather than just as the cherry on top – and he will be raring to inflict damage against Benfica defender Douglas on the left hand side.

He impressed during starts against Basel and CSKA, alongside giving the aforementioned Brazilian problems after coming on in Lisbon, and Mourinho could receive plenty of joy by letting the 21-year-old have free reign on the flank.

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