Manchester United have three significant injury doubts ahead of the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie with Barcelona at Old Trafford on Thursday night
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag faces a selection headache for the second leg of their Europa League tie against Barcelona on Thursday.
United enter the game at Old Trafford full of confidence after drawing the first leg 2-2 in Spain last week. They continued their momentum by thrashing Leicester 3-0 in the Premier League on Sunday, but Ten Hag will be without several key players for Barca’s game.
Harry Maguire, Antony and Anthony Martial could all miss crucial games through injury. Maguire was an unused substitute at Barcelona but missed the Leicester game with a knee injury. “Injuries,” Ten Hag told MUTV before the Leicester game when asked about Maguire’s absence, “I don’t think [it’s serious] but we have to wait and see how it develops.”
The club captain has endured a difficult season at United, with Ten Hag preferring Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, while Luke Shaw has also been signed at centre-back.
Antony has missed the last four games with a muscle strain. The Brazilian’s problems have not been taken seriously but his absence has frustrated Ten Hag, who needed as many players as possible during a particularly busy period which included the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle on Sunday.
Martial is out with a hip problem which has kept him out of action since scoring in the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup semi-final on February 1. played just 749 minutes in all competitions – less than Wout Weghorst, who only joined the club in January.
There was good news for Ten Hag, though, with Scott McTominay returning from injury as a second-half substitute against Leicester. The Scotland international could start against Barcelona, while Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer will return to contention after missing the first leg against Barcelona through suspension.
Despite missing the last three Premier League games, Casemiro will start at Old Trafford, with his three-game suspension not applicable to the Europa League. Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are out long term and will not be involved in the game.
Jadon Sancho will be pushing to start against Barca after coming off the bench to score against Leicester. All eyes will be on Marcus Rashford, who scored 16 goals in 17 games for United since returning from the World Cup.
Rashford played an important role in United’s draw in the first leg. After Marcos Alonso opened the scoring with a header from a corner, Rashford leveled at the near post and then curled in a cross which Jules Kounde put into his own net for the 2-1.
Raphinha’s cross then found its way into the bottom corner to set up an exciting second leg between the two weight classes.