Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick provides team news ahead of Chelsea clash
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s game against Chelsea tonight, as quoted by the club’s official website, Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick provided an injury update on his players, claiming that the team could be without the likes of Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho.
Having lost their previous Premier League fixtures 4-0 to Liverpool and 3-1 to Arsenal, United will be desperate to bounce back and get a good result. With the club in sixth position in the points table and in danger of missing out on the Champions League, this will be a crucial fixture.
However, Rangnick had bad news to provide on the injury front, saying that midfielder Fred and club captain Harry Maguire would be unavailable for the game tonight. Maguire is suffering from a niggle in his knee, and had not trained in the past couple of days.
“Fred is unfortunately not yet available. And apart from that we have Harry Maguire who is not available. He has some issues with his knee, not a big thing – some niggle in his knee. He hasn’t been training, neither yesterday or today.”
This is likely to see Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof paired together in central defence in the absence of their skipper. Given that we did see a surprising return to action for Phil Jones against Liverpool, the door may still be open for him to take to the field tonight.
With regard to the more long-term injuries that United have had over the past couple of weeks, Rangnick confirmed that Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, and Luke Shaw were still not fit and would not feature against Chelsea.
The German did, however, provide an update on winger Jadon Sancho, saying that the forward is ill and has been suffering from tonsillitis, which ruled him out of the training and the match against the Blues.
“Paul obviously, Fred, Edinson, Luke Shaw and Jadon – Jadon is ill, he has tonsillitis since yesterday, couldn’t train today and will also be not available tomorrow.”
Just like against Liverpool, it looks like the Red Devils will be putting out a weakened starting line-up against Thomas Tuchel’s men tonight, which does not bode well for Rangnick’s team. A win is a must to keep up with the rest of the pack, who could dash the club’s top-four hopes.
The news about Sancho is particularly painful to digest, as he was one of our better players against the Gunners last weekend. He proved to be a constant threat down the left-hand side, causing Cedric Soares and Arsenal some trouble at the back.
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Fred and Pogba’s omissions in midfield will also impact the way we set up against the west London side, as we will miss the former’s energy and pressing in the middle of the pitch as well as the latter’s range of passing and vision.
It will be curious to see what the starting XI tonight will be, given that our squad is stretched thin and there are limited options to pick from. Given the situation, perhaps we could see a couple of academy stars take to the pitch later on, like how Hannibal Mejbri was given a few minutes against Liverpool at Anfield.