United's team news for Fulham trip
Manchester United travel to Fulham on Sunday, for our final Premier League game before the domestic season breaks for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With the majority of the squads being named this week, the tournament in Qatar is looming large in the public consciousness.
But Erik ten Hag says the World Cup will not influence his team selection and that full attention is on the vital clash with the Cottagers, as United look to end the first portion of the season on a high.
“I think the players are all aware of the importance of the game against Fulham. I will not take the World Cup in regard,” Ten Hag said to reporters after the Carabao Cup win against Aston Villa.
“We play the best team – until Sunday, it is the interest of Manchester United and only the interest of Manchester United.”
Diogo Dalot can begin his preparations for Portugal’s participation early. The United right-back will miss our trip to London as he is serving a one-match Premier League ban for picking up five bookings this season.
His compatriot Bruno Fernandes returns to consideration – he missed Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa for the same reason, but was back to play a starring role as we gained revenge over Unai Emery's side on Thursday night.
The third Red picked in Portugal’s squad is Cristiano Ronaldo and he was absent for the Villa cup win due to illness, although he could be back for our capital visit.
“I can't guarantee that [Cristiano will be available] now, but today he was ill,” Erik added. “He can recover from that, it's not really a serious illness that takes days or weeks, so I think it's possible that he is available for Sunday and he will be in the squad.”
Other questions, like the fitness of Antony after his recent issues, and the ability of Anthony Martial to start two games in four days, will be resolved after Friday's training session at Carrington.
“In one hour we have training, so we will do normal stuff but we have to see,” Erik told club media in a one-to-one interview with Mark Sullivan. “I think no big issues from yesterday’s game, but we have to see how players recover from illness, like Cristiano, [and] from injury, like Antony.
“Yesterday, Anthony Martial plays his first minutes from the start after Everton, so we have to see how he recovers. So we have some issues and some questions [to see] how we line up and what plan we take.”
Raphael Varane is still injured, despite being named in France’s 25-man squad for Qatar on Wednesday, while Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe are longer-term absentees.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was named on the bench for the Real Sociedad game last week but is lacking match fitness as he hasn't played since August’s clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford. Jadon Sancho has also been absent from the squad this month.
FULHAM TEAM NEWS
The Cottagers have their own suspension concerns, as right-back Kenny Tete and central midfielder Harrison Reed are forced to sit this one out. Bobby Decordova-Reid served his ban last weekend, when Marco Silva's side had their hearts broken by a late Erling Haaland penalty at Manchester City.
Top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic won't play on Sunday, according to Silva – the Serbian didn't feature at City either, as he is currently managing an ankle injury, but he has been named in Serbia's squad for Qatar.
Manor Solomon and Neeskens Kebano have been ruled out for a long period.