How are Southampton shaping up?
A late call will be made on the fitness of Southampton midfielder Carlos Alcaraz before the trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, manager Ruben Selles has revealed.
Alcaraz, who joined from Racing Club in January, scored the winning goal against Leicester City last Saturday as the south-coast outfit lifted themselves from the foot of the Premier League table for the first time since November.
The 20-year-old injured his knee during the celebration, however, and had to be withdrawn early in the second half.
Selles said a decision would be made on the Argentinian's availability on Saturday.
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“Charly is doing better. He made training today [Friday] and we still need to see if he will be in the squad or not. Tomorrow will be the final test," said Selles, who has won two of his four games in charge since Nathan Jones left St Mary's last month.
“They are young players and they need to learn those situations and it was in the emotion of the moment. He has been feeling a little bit guilty, but let’s see if he can make it or not.
“If he is not fit for the game he will for sure [be fit] for the midweek game against Brentford. As I have said, we are learning together and that’s a lesson for him.”
Young full-backs Juan Larios and Tino Livramento are expected to be sidelined for a few more weeks.
Larios, a summer signing from Manchester City, hasn't featured since early November, while Livramento is approaching a year on the treatment table following a cruciate ligament injury.
Selles, who previously worked as a youth coach at Villarreal and Valencia and as an assistant at FC Copenhagen, joined the Saints set-up under then manager Ralph Hasenhuttl last summer.
After Jones’s departure, he was initially caretaker boss before being appointed manager until the end of the campaign, and the Spaniard was an observer from afar as we impressively beat Real Betis 4-1 in the Europa League on Thursday.
“We had a dinner with the technical staff to watch it,” he added.
“They [United] started really solid. In the second part of the game they are very strong, I think it was a clear example of what they are.”
90 in 20: Southampton v United
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SAINTS FORM GUIDE
It's been a difficult season on the south coast, with Southampton having been stranded at the wrong end of the top flight for much of 2022/23.
Last weekend's 1-0 victory over Leicester was only their second league win on home soil but things have been a little rosier on the road, and February's impressive success against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge helped keep them in touch with the teams sat just outside the relegation zone. They're currently 19th, ahead of this weekend's fixtures, though just one point separates them from Leeds United in 17th.
Captain James Ward-Prowse has been Southampton's standout player, scoring six league goals. He has now scored 17 Premier League free-kicks, and only former Reds favourite David Beckham (18) can better that total.