The Europa League is not where Manchester United wanted to be.
Having dropped into Europe’s second-tier competition, however, United need to make the most of it.
Last season United used the Europa League to give debuts to a number of young players, and Mason Greenwood netted five goals in the competition.
Here is a look at nine players who United should call up and give opportunities to.
We are not suggesting all nine play together, but all of these players should be in contention if United can land a favourable draw…
Mengi made his first team debut in the Europa League quarter-final against LASK in August.
He has been training on and off with the first team since June and has been an outstanding player at youth level.
The young centre-back is likely to be in and amongst the squad, and could form a youthful defensive partnership with Axel Tuanzebe.
Anthony Elanga featured in United’s one pre-season game like Mengi and he is in Solskjaer’s thoughts.
The Swedish winger has scored six goals at youth level this season and provided three assists and at times his pace is frightening.
Elanga is a real hot prospect who has adapted impressively to under-23 football this season. The Europa League would be another step up.
Facundo Pellistri signed on deadline day and he is beginning to warm up nicely for the under-23s.
In five appearances so far Pellistri has scored two goals and provided one assist, with the goals coming in his last two matches.
A FA Cup debut could beckon in January and he looks ideal for the Europa League.
Amad Diallo will arrive in January and he is an electric player who will give fans a reason to watch and get excited about the Europa League campaign.
He recently impressed on his Champions League debut for Atalanta and like Pellistri, he plays in a position where United are short.
He could become an instant hero at United by impressing in the competition.
With James Garner out on loan, Ethan Galbraith has a chance of breaking into United’s midfield.
There is nothing to be gained from starting Nemanja Matic in these matches.
Galbraith is already a Northern Ireland international and is a key man for the under-23s.
French sensation Hannibal Mejbri has provided five assists for the under-23s this season and has started every single game he has been available for.
The former Monaco talent is an exciting player who United have big plans for, with a contract running until 2024.
He will embrace the chance to step up if given an opportunity, and fast-track his development to the first team.
Spanish youngster Puigmal has been United’s standout player at under-23 level this season, netting seven goals from midfield.
The one problem is his expiring contract which runs out next summer.
United could give him a Europa League shot in order to try and persuade him to sign a new deal, showing him there is a pathway to the first team.
United need right-back alternatives to Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ethan Laird has a chance to provide one.
He made two Europa League appearances last season, although has struggled for fitness this season.
If he can stay fit, Laird should be a shoe-in to be involved with Solskjaer’s side.
Solskjaer may look to make a statement by giving Shola Shoretire a chance.
The 16-year-old is impressing for the under-23s, with two assists and a goal in his last three games.
He once represented United in the UEFA Youth League at just 14, and he has a chance to be involved for the first team in the Europa League.
- Manchester United’s Dan James will be hoping for another moment of magic against Chelsea
- Amad Diallo showed a new side to his game against Real Sociedad
- Predicted Manchester United line-up v Chelsea
- Who is reported United target Gleison Bremer?
- Eric Bailly says Sergio Ramos is his idol
- Solskjaer says Martial is working very hard to improve
- Can Diogo Dalot play against Manchester United in the Europa League?
- 2 positives and 1 negative from Manchester United drawing Milan
- Manchester United fans react to Nemanja Matic’s performance