Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Man Utd team news, injury updates ahead of Barcelona clash

Leave a comment

Manchester United are nearing a return to full(er) strength after yet another lengthy injury crisis, but the majority of those closest to seeing the field are still likely to miss out on Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Barcelona.

[ MORE: Solskjaer “cannot see” Paul Pogba leaving Man United this summer ]

Chief among them is Marcus Rashford, who happens to be closest to returning to game action. Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed on Tuesday that Rashford participated in a portion of first-team training 24 hours before the clash at Old Trafford, but the 21-year-old sounds a 50-50 doubt at best — quotes from the BBC:

“Hopefully he will be ready. He needed extra warm-up and hopefully he won’t get a reaction. He joined part of (training) at the end, but he couldn’t join the fun part of training.”

Meanwhile, Nemanja Matic is a long shot to feature after he was an unused substitute during the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and was then unable to train now a week later.

[ MORE: Klopp enjoying pressure of title race, “loves this season much more” ]

Ander Herrera is “probably out,” according to Solskjaer, while Alexis Sanchez has been officially ruled out of consideration to face his former club on Wednesday.

On a somewhat positive note, full backs Luke Shaw (two games) and Ashley Young (one game) will be available once again despite being suspended from domestic competition.

Alexis Sanchez could miss rest of season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alexis Sanchez could miss the rest of Manchester United’s season.

The Chilean forward injured ligaments in his right knee during their 3-2 win against Southampton on Saturday, and reports from his native Chile say he could be out for up to eight weeks.

That means Sanchez may only return for United’s final two games of the campaign, if he returns at all, as Chile’s physio Pedro Onate gave the following details to El Mercurio newspaper in Chile.

“We communicated with Sanchez, he has had his scans and that’s the injury – there will be no problems for him to play in the Copa America [this summer] because it will be six to eight weeks without playing,” Onate said. “The medial ligament is a troublesome injury but not so complex.”

Sanchez has really struggled this season at United. First under Jose Mourinho and now under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

In truth, the only reason he was playing against Saints at the weekend is because of a raft of injuries for Solskjaer’s side as the likes of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial remain out.

If United reach the FA Cup final then Sanchez could play in that, and we all know how much he loves playing at Wembley and in that competition in particular.

The 30-year-old has had a nightmare 13 months at United so far and this injury at a time when he could have a decent run in the team just about sums it up.

Sanchez has worked hard for Solskjaer, at least defensively, but his attacking spark is certainly missing.

Injury-ravaged Man Utd use all three subs in first half

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United used all three of its substitutes in the first 42 minutes of Sunday’s battle with Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The first to leave the match was Ander Herrera, replaced by Ander Herrera in the 21st minute.

STREAM MAN UTD-LIVERPOOL LIVE

Four minutes later, Jesse Lingard entered the match for an injured Juan Mata.

Not fully fit himself, Lingard was felled in the 42nd. That brought Alexis Sanchez into the match.

We can neither confirm nor deny that the fourth referee has asked Jurgen Klopp to make all of Liverpool’s subs at halftime so he can sit in the stands with the fans.

Honest Alexis Sanchez on why Mourinho struggled at Man United

Getty Images
1 Comment

Alexis Sanchez didn’t beat about the bush when discussing why Jose Mourinho’s time at Manchester United ended abruptly.

Sanchez, 30, spoke with the BBC alongside Ander Herrera before United’s FA Cup last 16 clash at Chelsea on Monday.

Speaking to Spanish reporter Guillem Balague, the Chilean forward gave his extremely honest opinion on why it went wrong for Mourinho.

“I’ll tell you personally. I say things as they are and in my opinion, Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world. In the way that he coaches, how he studies videos, the way he goes about things,” Sanchez said. “But, then within the group there was that feeling that you were in the team then out. Sometimes I didn’t play, then I did, then I didn’t and as a player you lose confidence, each player lost their confidence, do you understand?

“And then an atmosphere was created that was very… confusing. Sometimes I’m playing well and I score a goal and he took me off. And I’d say ‘I love football, I love football.’ I’ve played football since I was five and if I have the ball taken away from me, it’s as if I love my joy.”

In a nutshell: Mourinho changed the players around too much, didn’t explain what he was doing and sucked the confidence out of every single Manchester United player.

Sanchez is saying what we were all thinking and perhaps this kind of honesty will allow the Chilean to move on from the worst period in his career so far.

He has struggled massively at United since Mourinho signed him from Arsenal last January — Sanchez has scored five goals in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils —  and those struggles have got even worse under new caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, the former Arsenal star now has a huge opportunity to play regularly as both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are out injured for a few weeks. Sanchez now has a chance to show he can deliver on a consistent basis but after so many months either injured, or battling back to fitness after a lack of game time, there is a long road ahead for Sanchez.

Sanchez speaks about Man United struggles

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alexis Sanchez has been a bit-part player this season at Manchester United under two different managers, and it’s beginning to take its toll.

The 30-year-old Chilean admitted in an interview with BBC’s Guillem Balague that the lack of playing time at Old Trafford is sapping his enjoyment of the game, and his inconsistent time on the pitch is feeding his poor form.

“I’m a player that, if I’m not in contact with the ball, I lose that spark,” Sanchez said, “and sometimes I want to play in every game. You’re in, you’re out, and I’m used to playing.

“It’s not an excuse because if I go on for 10, 20 minutes, I have to perform because that’s what I’m here for, to make a difference. I would like to have brought more joy to the club. Yes, it worries me because I believe in my abilities as a player, I want to show it.”

Sanchez has made 14 Premier League appearances for Manchester United this season, with just six of those coming from the opening whistle. A hamstring injury at the start of December is a major culprit of his lack of playing time this season, but so has been a lack of the creativity that he showed at times during his time at Arsenal. Sanchez has just one goal and three assists in 615 Premier League minutes this season, far below what the team likely expected he would provide.

“Within the group there was that feeling that you were in the team, then out,” Sanchez said of the squad’s waning confidence in Jose Mourinho before he was fired. “Sometimes I didn’t play, then I did, then I didn’t and as a player you lose confidence. I’ve played football since I was five and if I have the ball taken away from me, it’s as if I lose my joy.”

With 12 matches remaining in the Premier League and a tight battle for the Champions League places under way, Sanchez will have plenty of opportunities to make his mark, but he will need to prove he deserves a spot in the lineup moving forward.