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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Team News: Injury returns and updates

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The coming week is a big one for Manchester United and any hopes of silverware in the 2023/24 season. A date with rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford awaits them on Sunday in the FA Cup.

The FA Cup Quarter-final clash is the lone cup fixture left for Erik ten Hag’s Reds, who crashed out of Europe with an abysmal last-placed group stage finish in the UEFA Champions League and suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United in the League Cup Round of 16.

One major worry going into the match was the availability of striker Rasmus Hojlund, who discovered brilliant form with goals in six successive Premier League appearances before suffering an injury in training. Hojlund was absent for defeats to Fulham and Manchester City as well as the difficult wins over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and Everton in the league over the weekend.

Fortunately for the United faithful, ten Hag gave a positive update on Hojlund ahead of the Everton match. The Danish forward has “good hope” to return in time to face Liverpool, along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire according to the manager’s update.

Hojlund’s goals and defensive reinforcements are of course important to the top-four race as well, which United are currently looking up at with fifth-placed Tottenham six points ahead with a game in hand. It’s a far from easy race to the finish as well, with Liverpool on the schedule again just a couple of weeks later in the league.

Unfortunately, Erik ten Hag also gave an update on Tyrell Malacia, who is not expected to play this season after unexpected difficulties with his recovery from a knee injury suffered over the summer. Initially, he was expected back around December-January, but that time has clearly come and gone with little update until now.

Another player with little update has been Mason Mount, the big arrival from Chelsea last Summer, who has played in only 12 matches due to injuries this season.

The manager’s only update for Mount was this: “I think he is in a good spell now and he will return shortly. I think after the international break.”

Matches after the break include Brentford at the Community Stadium and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the latter of which will no doubt have some sort of reception for Mount given the history.

It will be difficult to continue papering over the left side of defense without an expert left-back, but generally, this is positive news for United and a boost to their ambitions (how limited they may be at this point). Liverpool is a huge test in the Cup, and United need all the firepower they can muster.

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