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Manchester United defender Raphael Varane is close to return from injury

Erik Ten Hag hopes to have the Frenchman back in contention as the Red Devils chase Champions League qualification.

Varane could be back for FA Cup final
Alex LiveseyGetty Images

Manchester United have been beset by a number of injuries in the second half of this season, but those suffered by defensive duo Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane must rank as the most worrying for Erik Ten Hag.

Martinez will not return until pre-season, at the earliest, but the Red Devils have been given some good news about Varane’s prospects.

Speaking on Wednesday, Erik ten Hag confirmed that he hopes to have the Frenchman back in contention in ten days.

Ahead of their trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday, the United boss said: “The prognosis: I think Rafa [Varane] is close at this moment… But still, the coming two games, he’s not available.”

This suggests that Varane could make his return in Manchester United’s home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 13 May. This would give the former Real Madrid star four games to build up his match fitness ahead of the FA Cup final against Manchester City on 3 June.

Brighton will be out for revenge against United

Ten Hag’s side booked their place in the final with a nail-biting penalty shoot-out win over Brighton last month. The Seagulls have enjoyed a brilliant season under Roberto de Zerbi and are close to securing European qualification for next year.

On Wednesday Ten Hag said that he expects Brighton to be out for revenge after their FA Cup disappointment.

“I think everyone involved in top sport, if you get beaten, you want to have revenge and that is normal,” he said.

“They have a huge motivation to beat us, but we have to match that and do more, show more hunger than them, to win this game - willingness is the word for tomorrow.

We have six games to go and every game we want to win, therefore you need full focus, full energy, full preparation and tomorrow is definitely going to be a fight.”

Manchester United are currently fourth in the table, seven points ahead of Liverpool in fifth. The Red Devils can all but guarantee Champions League qualification with a win at the Amex Stadium on Thursday but Ten Hag has warned his players not to take anything for granted.

“We want to be in the Champions League, that is the competition we are now fighting for and that is the only thing in this moment to focus on,” the Dutchman said.


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