Manchester United vs AFC Bournemouth: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho will know that the only thing worse than losing a crucial derby at home is letting the result engender a consequent meltdown for his side.

Wednesday night’s clash with AFC Bournemouth, therefore, has taken on a whole new level of significance after Pep Guardiola exposed a litany of shortcomings in this Manchester United side on Sunday.

Here are three players who Mourinho must start against Eddie Howe’s side as Man United look to recover from their most demoralising result of the campaign thus far.

Victor Lindelof

The Swede was introduced at half time on Sunday for the injured Marcos Rojo and displayed a level of composure on the ball that was in short supply.

He didn’t look unhinged by the brilliance of either Kevin de Bruyne or David Silva, positioning himself well and feeding the ball through the lines with confidence. And with Bournemouth set to sit deep at Old Trafford, Lindelof’s crisp passing and newly discovered mettle will come in handy.

Marcus Rashford

While Romelu Lukaku drew further criticism on Sunday for another onerous shown against a big side, Rashford continued his superb form in front of goal this season, producing a pin-point finish to take his tally to eight goals.

Mourinho may even feel tempted to use the 20-year-old, who has been United main attacking threat over the last two games, up front whilst forcing Lukaku to watch from the bench.

Juan Mata

This is the kind of game in which the Spaniard thrives. United desperately lacked a sense of continuity and structure going forward on Sunday, and his late introduction at least gave them some increased presence in the final third.

And his patient, composed presence on a night where anxiety over grabbing the first goal will be even greater feels necessary.

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