Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford.

Squad may be boosted for Bees clash

Sunday 16 January 2022 15:00

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has reiterated his hope that Cristiano Ronaldo will be back for Wednesday's Premier League clash at Brentford.

Our leading scorer missed both games against Aston Villa, the 1-0 victory in the FA Cup third round at Old Trafford and the 2-2 draw in the Midlands on Saturday.

The absence is because of a hip problem but both the Portugal international and Marcus Rashford, who suffered a dead leg in training, could be welcomed back into the fold for the journey to the capital.

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Highlights: Aston Villa 2 United 2

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"It [Ronaldo's absence] was because he was injured," Rangnick stated at his post-match press conference. "He still has problems with his [hip] flexor, that's why he couldn't train yesterday. We spoke before and after the training session and decided it makes no sense just to travel, without knowing if he can really play.

"We'll see what the situation is like tomorrow [Sunday] and if he will be available again on Wednesday."

In a separate interview with Sky Sports, the boss said of Rashford and Ronaldo: "Well, I expected them back today but they were not available. We will have to wait and see how it develops for Wednesday."

The squad will definitely be boosted by Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay being free of the suspension that caused them to miss the Villa Park encounter, after accumulating five yellow cards over the course of the Premier League season.

Alex Telles, who claimed an assist for Bruno Fernandes's opener when touching a free-kick to our no.18, and Nemanja Matic, came into the side, while Ralf handed Anthony Elanga his first start of the campaign.

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Jadon Sancho came on for Elanga in the second half and Ralf explained his selection choices are obviously taken on a game-by-game basis with the busy spell continuing. Following the midweek clash with the Bees, United welcome another London side, in-form West Ham United, to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

"Anthony did well," added Rangnick. "He had two great opportunities to score but he showed what I expected him to show and showed me why I chose him to play.

"Look, we have so many games to play and I wasn’t thinking who is ahead of who [for that position]. My thinking was to play him [Elanga] from the start and, as I said, we have so many games coming up."

Skipper Harry Maguire was fit enough to be on the bench after his recent lay-off but Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not in the squad, and Paul Pogba is still unavailable.