David Moyes said he will have no concerns about asking Michael Carrick to fill in as an emergency centreback against a prolific Manchester City side on Tuesday.
Manchester United could be without four specialist central defenders, as they were at West Ham on Saturday when midfielder Carrick acquitted himself well against England striker Andy Carroll.
And if Rio Ferdinand fails to recover from a back injury, Moyes will turn to either Carrick or left-back Patrice Evra to partner Phil Jones in the middle of his defence.
Moyes said: “He done great in centre-half and I would have no problems. He has played there before so it wasn’t a problem. We even considered putting [Marouane] Fellaini back there so we have people if we have to. We gave Pat Evra a rest and if we have to, we can put Pat there as well and he would cope manfully. It was great, the squad mucked in.”
Captain Nemanja Vidic is both injured and suspended while fellow centrebacks Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling are still sidelined.
The United manager added: “I think in the last couple of games they’ve really stepped up to the plate and have performed. But I’m not surprised by that. That’s what they are capable of. We have a good squad and good players. We maybe haven’t played as well as we should. I do think we’ve got those capabilities in the squad.”
However, United have an undistinguished record in major matches after only recording one win against the top nine sides in the Premier League so far.
Moyes added: “We want to try to perform better in the bigger games than we’ve done. It’s important for us to show the level of what we’ve got and I think we have got the level and we’re not as far away as many people would have us. I’ve got no doubt it will improve.”