Ralf Rangnick reveals Man United now have just 14 players fit with Harry Maguire injured and Jadon Sancho sick, as he calls for stars to impress Erik ten Hag with ‘talk of the top four being unrealistic’
- Manchester United host Chelsea in the Premier League on Thursday evening
- Ralf Rangnick will be without a host of senior players for Old Trafford match
- Captain Harry Maguire has a knee problem while Jadon Sancho has tonsillitis
- Paul Pogba, Fred, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw are also sidelined
- Rangnick said United ‘must be realistic’ about their remote top four chances
Manchester United will have just 14 fit senior players for Thursday night’s clash with Chelsea after Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho joined a lengthening injury list.
Captain Maguire has a knee issue and winger Sancho is suffering from tonsillitis, with Paul Pogba, Fred, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw already ruled out.
United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick has already written off his team’s chances of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has suffered a knee injury and will miss Thursday night’s match against Chelsea at Old Trafford
United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick urged realism over the team’s top four prospects
Rangnick has urged his players to take the opportunity to impress new boss Erik ten Hag
United’s injury list
Fred (hip flexor)
Harry Maguire (knee)
Jadon Sancho (tonsillitis)
Edinson Cavani (calf)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (knock)
Luke Shaw (leg)
Paul Pogba (calf)
Their hopes of finishing a thoroughly underwhelming season on something of a high in the final four games will be diminished by a number of key absentees, with a number of youngsters set to be drafted in.
But it will provide an excellent opportunity for young and fringe players to impress the incoming manager Erik ten Hag against a Chelsea side likely to finish in the top four.
Rangnick said: ‘Fred is unfortunately not yet available. He tried to train yesterday and afterwards I had a conversation with him and with a player like Fred it doesn’t make sense with a muscular injury to play him too early as he would take the risk of re-injury.
‘Harry Maguire – he has some issues with his knee, he didn’t train yesterday and today. Paul, obviously, Fred, Edinson, Luke Shaw and Jadon. He has tonsillitis and couldn’t train yesterday.
‘They should have the chance to play well and perform well, it should be the right moment.
‘We will try to play the best possible team. Right now we have 14 in our pro team and the youngsters available and three or four [young] players will be part of the squad.’
United are unlikely to achieve a top four finish and return to the Champions League now
Jadon Sancho has been suffering with tonsillitis and won’t feature in the Chelsea match
United suffered another afternoon to forget as they lost 3-1 at Arsenal in a blow to their chances of finishing above the Gunners in the Premier League top four
Man United fixtures
Thursday Chelsea (H)
Monday Brentford (H)
May 7 Brighton (A)
May 22 Crystal Palace (A)
With matches against Chelsea, Brentford, Brighton and Crystal Palace left to come, and United needing to make up six points to Arsenal in fourth, Rangnick urged ‘realism’ about their situation.
He said: ‘I don’t think it makes sense to speak and speculate about the Champions League. We need to be realistic.
‘Even if we win four games, it’s not in our hands. Even for next season, it’s important to finish on the best possible note.
‘We have four more games to play. The next two are at home and obviously we will try to get as many points and win as many games as we possibly can.
‘In order to do that, we need to play on the best level we possibly can. We know if we play well, it’s possible to win the game tomorrow.’