Where are the last Man Utd XI to start a Champions League match now?


Manchester United will make their welcome return to the Champions League tonight when they take on FC Basel in their Group A opener.

Despite finishing sixth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho's men secured qualification for Europe's top competition by winning the Europa League at the end of last season.

Now into his second campaign at the helm at Old Trafford, Mourinho will be keen to see his side not take their participation in the UCL for granted, having missed out in two of the last four seasons.

Of course, since the Portuguese replaced Louis van Gaal in charge, he has overhauled an underperforming squad and transformed them into one which - albeit after just four games - look capable of challenging for the Premier League title.

And what better way to show just how wholesale Mourinho's changes have been than by looking at the last Man Utd XI to play in the Champions League?

In December 2015, the Red Devils crashed out of the competition at the group stage by losing 3-2 to Wolfsburg in the final game.

As Man United team sheets go, this is definitely one most fans would have forgotten.

GK: David de Gea

The Spaniard is arguably one of only two players from this XI still considered a regular starter under Van Gaal's successor.

RB: Guillermo Varela

Varela was never given a look-in whatsoever by Mourinho and has followed last season's loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt with a permanent move back to the club where he initially caught United's eye, Penarol, in Uruguay.


CB: Chris Smalling

Smalling enjoyed the best campaign of his career during Van Gaal's second season in charge.

Although still at the club, the 27-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford but is expected to start against Basel due to Eric Bailly and Phil Jones' suspension.

CB: Daley Blind

Blind was another who came into his own under Van Gaal but Mourinho doesn't appear to share quite the same confidence in the Dutchman's ability - at centre-back at least.

LB: Matteo Darmian

Darmian started against Wolfsburg but came off injured before half-time, forcing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to replace him.

The versatile Italian is still widely considered to be a rotation option at the club while Borthwick-Jackson is on loan at Leeds.

Manchester United v Sampdoria - International Champions Cup

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger

A popular figure amongst the fans, Schweinsteiger's spell at the club effectively came to an end the day Mourinho was appointed.

The 33-year-old now turns out for Chicago Fire in the MLS.

CM: Marouane Fellaini

Fellaini is almost certainly the only player from this XI whose value to the team has actually increased since Van Gaal was replaced.

A doubt to face Basel, Mourinho even admitted he feels weaker when the big Belgian is unavailable.

Can you imagine the stick David Moyes would have received if he had said that?

RM: Jesse Lingard

It's hard to tell whether Lingard would even still be at the club had Van Gaal not given him a chance during the 2015/16.


He hasn't had much of a look in so far this term but you would assume the winger will get more minutes as the fixtures start coming thick and fast.

CAM: Juan Mata

Everyone feared Mata's career at Man Utd was over when Mourinho came in but the Spaniard remains as valuable as he always has been for the Red Devils.

LM: Memphis Depay

Depay arrived with a big reputation but failed to live up to the hype at Old Trafford.

He left the club in January to join Lyon but Mourinho was eager not to completely cut ties with the winger by inserting a buy-back clause in the deal, should Depay eventually achieve his potential.

A.F.C. Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League

ST: Anthony Martial

Martial has started the new season very brightly after a fairly quiet campaign last time out.

It looks like he will be rivalling Marcus Rashford for a place on the left in Mourinho's current XI this year, however, if the duo continue to impress, the United boss will have little choice but to find a way to fit both into the team.

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