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Maguire out of United key match

The 2 were substituted after picking up injuries in the weekend’s 0-1 Premier League home loss to Aston Villa and Maguire’s injury could rule him out of England’s World Cup qualifiers next month
Cristiano Ronaldo

Reuters   |   Manchester   |   Published 29.09.21, 04:26 AM

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire will be sidelined for a few weeks with a calf injury, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Tuesday ahead of their Champions League group game against Villarreal.

Maguire and fellow defender Luke Shaw did not take part in Tuesday’s training session but Solskjaer added he was hopeful left-back Shaw could make the squad when United host Villarreal on Wednesday.


The two players were substituted after picking up injuries in the weekend’s 0-1 Premier League home loss to Aston Villa and Maguire’s injury could rule him out of England’s World Cup qualifiers next month.

“Harry is, more or less, definitely out and it doesn’t look good. It’s Harry’s calf and it might take a few weeks. Let’s see how quickly he recovers,” Solskjaer told reporters.

“Luke has been in today (Tuesday) so I’ll give him a chance to be involved. He didn’t train with the team.”

United will also be without right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka after he was sent off during the 1-2 defeat by Young Boys in their Champions League opener.

“I have got Eric (Bailly), Raphael (Varane), Victor (Lindelof), Alex (Telles) and Diogo (Dalot) 100 per cent fit. Hopefully, Luke can be involved,” Solskjaer added.

United are bottom of Group F but Solskjaer said the Villarreal match, a repeat of last year’s Europa League final, was not a “must-win” game.

“It is a group stage (game), you need 10 or maybe 12 points to go through... If you end up with zero or one point after two games, you need four wins. (It is) not a must-win game but an important one,” Solskjaer said.

“We have played (Villarreal) five times, every time it has been a draw... They can play from the back. It is hard to press against them, which I thought we did well in the final.”

Solskjaer said he would continue to favour the midfield partnership of Scott McTominay and Fred.

“First of all the stats for the two together (show) we have had many good results,” he said.

“The energy and desire, I really like to have the two of them. I can trust them to give us what they’ve got.”

Forward Marcus Rashford trained away from the main group as he continues his recovery from a shoulder injury, along with winger Amad Diallo.

Kante gets Covid-19

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante will not be involved in the group game at Juventus after testing positive for Covid-19, manager Thomas Tuchel said on Tuesday.

Kante’s positive test is another blow for Tuchel as the Premier League side are also without winger Christian Pulisic, midfielder Mason Mount and full-back Reece James due to injuries.

Tuchel said he does not know how many of his players are vaccinated and although he has taken the jab, he will not force others to do so.

“We are a reflection of society, the players are adults and they have a free choice.

“We should accept it, this is more or less all I can say. I know the situation is far from over... It makes you very aware it is not over,” Tuchel told reporters.

Tuchel accepted teams would be more motivated to play Chelsea as they are the defending European champions but stopped short of labelling his squad as favourites for the title.

“I don’t think we are the favourites but we’ve shown the performances we’re capable of,” he said.

“We should stay realistic and be clear what we demand of ourselves. The better we do this, the better our performance is.”

Juventus have struggled to get going after Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United and the Italian side sit 10th in Serie A — 10 points behind leaders Napoli — but Tuchel said he expects them to recover under Massimiliano Allegri.

Koeman’s dilemma

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said he is cautious about starting teenage forward Ansu Fati away to Benfica on Wednesday so soon after returning from injury as the Catalans look to kick-start their Champions League campaign.

Barca were beaten 0-3 at home by Bayern Munich in their opening Group E game and drew their next two La Liga matches with Granada and Cadiz before returning to form with a 3-0 home win over Levante on Sunday.

Fati came off the bench to score the last goal against Levante after over 10 months sidelined with a knee injury during which he underwent four operations.

His return has unleashed a wave of hope at the club after a despondent start to the season following Lionel Messi’s departure.

“He was very tired, being away for so long and then to score with his family in the stadium had a huge impact on him emotionally,” Koeman told a news conference on Tuesday.

“He has trained well and we’ll try to give him a bit more game time but I can’t say how many minutes we’ll give him, it depends on what state he is in.”

Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong returns for Barca after missing the Levante game through suspension. Midfielders Pedri and Sergi Roberto are back from injury but defender Jordi Alba is still unavailable.

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