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Rangnick facing ´difficult decisions´ with Man Utd virtually back to full strength

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Dec 2021


Ralf Rangnick has some “difficult decisions” to make when Manchester United face Newcastle United after confirming that all but one of his first-team players are back in training.

United’s last two Premier League matches – a trip to Brentford and a home game against Brighton and Hove Albion – were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club.

The Red Devils halted first-team operations at their Carrington training ground for 24 hours last week, but players started returning on a staggered basis from Tuesday.

All remaining players were back involved on Thursday, with the exception of injured midfielder Paul Pogba, ahead of next Monday’s trip to St James’ Park.

And Rangnick reported at his pre-match news conference that he expects to have virtually a full-strength squad to choose from against Newcastle, meaning Raphael Varane should be in contention again after two months out with a groin injury suffered on international duty.

“We shut the training ground last Thursday for four days in order to break the chain. On that day we had eight outfield players and three goalkeepers,” Rangnick said.

“As of today, we have now had three days of training this week. We started on Tuesday, then trained yesterday and today. We have 25 outfield players, all apart from Pogba.

“Every other player is on board. The development of the last week was extremely positive.

“As far as I could see today in training, they’re all in good shape and all the players did their homework. They had their schedule to train at home and they stuck to that schedule.

“I can say most of them if not all of them might be available, but I might have to make some difficult decisions who will be in the squad and the starting XI.”

United have won their first two Premier League games under Rangnick without conceding, either side of a 1-1 Champions League draw against Young Boys with a much-changed side.

Another clean sheet on Monday would make Rangnick the first manager ever to keep out the opposition in his first three league games in charge of United.

However, United have lost two of their past four league trips to Newcastle, which is as many defeats as they suffered in the previous 13 encounters between the sides at St James’ Park.


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