Ronaldo and Varane.

Rangnick explains absentees

Sunday 06 March 2022 15:36

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has explained the high-profile absentees for the derby at City.

The Reds are having to cope without Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo for the 16:30 GMT kick-off, while Edinson Cavani has also not recovered in time to feature, despite returning to training.

It means Ralf has had to adjust his plans for a key fixture in terms of the battle for Premier League standings, with United under pressure for a Champions League spot after Arsenal's 3-2 win at Watford that takes them above us and into fourth.

Liverpool moved to within three points of leaders City with their 1-0 success against West Ham United on Saturday.

Defenders Shaw and Varane have both tested positive for Covid-19 while Ronaldo has picked up a hip injury.

Cavani is also not risked but, no doubt, it will be hoped he can return in next weekend's home clash against Tottenham.

"Rapha Varane and Luke Shaw tested positive with Covid unfortunately in midweek," he told us. "Edi trained well in the last three days but, at the end, he didn’t feel quite well enough to be able to play. And Cristiano had some problems with his hip flexor on Friday and since then, he didn’t train."

Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire are reunited at the heart of the defence, with Alex Telles operating to the left of them. Scott McTominay is back after his illness while Bruno Fernandes could be playing as a 'false nine' with Anthony Elanga and former Blue Jadon Sancho providing the pace.

Young midfielder Hannibal is on the substitutes' bench.

City pair Aymeric Laporte and John Stones at the back, in Ruben Dias's absence, with Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish among their starters.