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Injury-hit Man United braced for tough test at Chelsea, says Ten Hag

Injury-hit Man United braced for tough test at Chelsea, says Ten Hag

MANCHESTER, England : Manchester United next visit a Chelsea side who may be reeling in 12th place in the Premier League but have the ability to beat just about any team, manager Erik ten Hag said on the eve of Thursday’s Premier League clash.

United are sixth in the standings with 48 points, 11 behind fourth-placed Aston Villa but with a game in hand and need a win at Stamford Bridge in the pursuit of Champions League football.

They defeated Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea side 2-1 at Old Trafford in December thanks to a Scott McTominay double.

“It’s a tough competition, it’s very tight and also a lot about which players are available and not,” Ten Hag told reporters.

“When you are on the right side of the line you can have a successful season but when on the wrong side you can have a much more difficult season.

“For the rest they (Chelsea) have a fantastic team, fantastic players and play very good football, they can beat anyone and have shown in this league.”

United have suffered a double injury blow with defenders Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof facing a spell on the sidelines of at least a month with muscle issues.

With the defensive problems, the return of Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans back in training is a welcome sight for the Dutchman.

Frenchman Varane was replaced by Harry Maguire in the 46th minute in the 1-1 draw at Brentford on Saturday, while Northern Irishman Evans has missed United’s last two matches.

“No more issues, we don’t need them,” Ten Hag said.

“The front line and midfield we are okay, in the backline we have a lack of options. But the good thing is that this afternoon Varane and Evans are back, Maguire was back in training yesterday.”

He said United will deal with the rise in muscular issues, with injuries troubling many clubs.

“You can’t prevent the problems,” Ten Hag said.

“The standards of the Premier League are so high. The overload in the schedule and in international football is so huge. We have all internationals in our squad.

“(Manchester) City, Liverpool and Newcastle (United) have the problems, especially in the defending department.”

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