Manchester United

Man Utd ‘team news’ drops hours before Chelsea clash as Ten Hag finally catches a break

Erik ten Hag was anxious before Thursday’s trip to Stamford Bridge about the health of two Manchester United defenders.

Man Utd 'team news' drops hours before Chelsea clash as Ten Hag finally catches a break

Erik ten Hag will have Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans available for selection against Chelsea (Image: Getty

Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans, two Manchester United defenders, have reportedly been cleared to play against Chelsea tonight (Thursday). Following Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof’s recent injury setbacks, Erik ten Hag is down to the bare minimum at the back.

In Sunday’s draw with Brentford, Varane was substituted, and Evans hasn’t participated in a competitive match since March 9. A late fitness test was required of both players before their Thursday night trip to west London.

Given that both stars were expected to be out for at least a month, Ten Hag would have already been without Martinez and Lindelof in central defense. If Varane and Evans had given the United manager more bad news, he might have had to call on teenage academy product Willy Kambwala.

The Manchester Evening News, however, reports that both players have been cleared to play and will be included in the squad to take on Chelsea. Amad Diallo, who was suspended for one game against the Bees, is also expected to make a comeback.

Man Utd 'team news' drops hours before Chelsea clash as Ten Hag finally catches a break

Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans could both feature against Chelsea on Thursday (Image: Getty)

Ten Hag will be greatly encouraged by the news, as he has struggled with numerous defensive injury concerns for almost the entire season. Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw are still sidelined, so the Red Devils have no senior left-back options.

Because of this, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot have occasionally been compelled to play on their weaker side, leaving just one right-back spot open. That will likely continue against a Chelsea team that is eager to get three points following their miserable draw with a 10-man Burnley team on Saturday.

“It’s not just us that can’t stop injuries from happening,” Ten Hag conceded during his press conference this week. “The Premier League has extremely high standards for intensity and demand, and there is a significant overload of international football on the schedule.

“You see, it’s not just us; our squad is made up entirely of internationals. There are issues with [Manchester] City, Liverpool, Newcastle, and numerous other teams.”

In the race for a Champions League spot, United has a game in hand and nine points to catch up to Tottenham in fifth place. However, Ten Hag has found it difficult to orchestrate a run of steady success; no team higher up than Crystal Palace in 14th place has scored fewer goals in the Premier League than their dismal total of 40 goals.

Ten Hag went on, “I’ve played football long enough to know that these things do happen, and some of you should too. Even when you’re not playing well, you still need to win because this is Man United.


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