Manchester United are still in the running for a place in the Champions League knockout phase despite Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat by Galatasaray, leaving them bottom of Group A. The Red Devils, who lost 4-3 at Bayern Munich in their opener last month, twice took the lead against the Turkish champions through Rasmus Hojlund but were pegged back by goals from Wilfried Zaha and Kerem Akturkoglu before Mauro Icardi scored the winner.
The result left United seven points adrift of the top four in the Premier League with a trip to Newcastle next week and a visit from Tottenham on Monday. But a fan on Reddit has outlined precisely what needs to happen for United to make it out of the group stage, ensuring the club does not face a two-legged play-off against a side from the Europa League.
It is a daunting prospect, not least because of the quality of some of those teams. United are unlikely to reach the semi-finals, but even an early exit would not be the end for them. They have already reached the quarter-finals twice since Sir Alex Ferguson retired a decade ago, once under David Moyes and once with that remarkable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United have one game in hand on all the other teams in their group and will go into the final match at home to Copenhagen needing a point to guarantee progress. They could finish third in the group if Atletico Madrid loses to Basel and Chelsea slips up against CSKA Moscow.
But the loss to Galatasaray will have done their confidence no good, with defenders Phil Jones and Luke Shaw both out injured. United also lacks the services of midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who joined Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng in a £10m move last week.
Fellaini’s omission from the United squad ahead of their two games against PSG is no surprise. He was a key player in their first two group games, scoring once and assisting in the 2-1 victory over Sevilla. However, he has been kept on the bench for recent games and only made a brief appearance off the bench in their 2-0 defeat to Villarreal.
The other big decision is to play James Garner or Mason Greenwood in central defense against the French giants. Garner, 21, has been on the fringes of United’s starting XI this season but is likely to be included, while 16-year-old Greenwood has been left on the bench for most matches so far.
Ten Hag has also opted to keep Ethan Hamilton on the bench, despite the Scot joining League One side Rochdale on loan last month, while the club has also retained the services of Ethan McManus and Tahith Chong. The only other departure from the current group of players is goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is set to join Everton.