Team news for United's match at Aston Villa
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is preparing his side for the Premier League game at Aston Villa on Thursday night (20:15 BST kick-off).
Victor Lindelof's availability is in doubt after the central defender sustained a back problem against Bournemouth. The Swede will be assessed after Ole told us the injury was
“not bad” and he
“might” feature in the Midlands. Eric Bailly would be the obvious replacement if Lindelof does not make it, with former Villa loanee Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones still ruled out.
With so many games on the horizon, there is the option of rotating the squad or retaining an unchanged XI in the Premier League for the fourth successive match, providing Victor is fit. United now know that winning each of our remaining fixtures will guarantee us a top-four place, following Leicester City's 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Tuesday.
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“There are not many that haven't played in the last two weeks,” Ole explained at his pre-match press conference.
“They all know they're fit and available, that they're valued. It's not an issue. There are so many things to play for. Trophies - the FA Cup, the Europa League - but also the top four in the league. The group is very tight knit and they all know they've got a part to play.”
One of the options to come into the side is Scott McTominay, who is bursting with energy and capable of providing any freshness, if and when the boss feels it is required.
“I think Scott is obviously still a young boy,” added Ole
“He's seven or eight years younger than Nemanja [Matic] and Nemanja has been on record saying that he sees himself in Scott, so the two can bounce off each other.
“It's never easy. I've told Nemanja before that Scott is going to play and he's all right, because he rates him and vice versa. I'm sure Scotty can learn a lot from Nemanja. The way he's gone about his job in the last few seasons here has been good.”
Both players have signed new contracts with the club recently.
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VILLA'S TEAM NEWS
Centre-back Tyrone Mings and talisman Jack Grealish should be fine to play, despite seeming to pick up knocks in last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.
“Tyrone took a whack on the calf against Liverpool and Jack had tight calves, but they both came through training yesterday,” Smith told reporters during Wednesday's pre-match media briefing. Meanwhile, Tom Heaton, Matt Targett and Wesley are all out. Defenders Frederic Guilbert and Bjorn Engles haven’t featured since Project Restart and are unlikely to on Thursday.
Ex-Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina is expected to start in goal, with Keinan Davis likely to play as the sole striker for the opposition.
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