After their Europa League fate was confirmed in San Sebastian earlier this week, Manchester United will now be switching their focus to the Premier League.
Erik ten Hag’s men will make the trip to Birmingham on Sunday to face Aston Villa, who have recently appointed former Arsenal and Villarreal manager Unai Emery as Steven Gerrard’s replacement.
The hosts have struggled so far this season but will be looking to regain their form against United, with Ten Hag potentially having to do without several key players.
Bruno Fernandes will miss the game through suspension and three other attacking players, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Antony, are doubts.
All three players were absent from the squad that made the trip to face Real Sociedad but Ten Hag provided an update on the trio in his pre-match press conference.
“It’s difficult to say in this moment,” the Dutchman is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website.
“I have to talk with the medical and the performance team as they did a programme in Manchester. I have to hear how their progress was and if they can be available for Sunday’s match.”
Ten Hag was also quizzed on the prospect of being without Fernandes, who has scored in all three of United’s trips to Villa Park since they were promoted in 2019.
“We know that we have to replace Bruno,” he added. “That is quite clear. We have to see how we replace him and we have to think about that and it is short, so soon after this [Real Sociedad] game. I have one night to think about that.”
Not long ago, it looked like United had good cover in most positions but after a couple of injuries, that looks to be far from the case. Against Sociedad, Fernandes was used as a right-sided winger and youngster Alejandro Garnacho played on the left.
Garnacho impressed and took his goal brilliantly well – that could alter Ten Hag’s thinking ahead of this game depending on what the fitness of the three aforementioned players is like.
Martial has started just one league game this season and he shouldn’t be rushed back into action, he will be crucial in the second half of the season if he can stay fit.
Ten Hag will be keen to have Antony back as soon as possible. The Brazilian winger has already become integral to the side. Sancho was an unused substitute in the two games prior to this week’s trip to San Sebastian but Ten Hag needs him back.