Man Utd confirm Varane to miss 'a few weeks' ahead of gruelling run of games

By Sports Desk October 12, 2021

Raphael Varane is set to be out for "a few weeks" after sustaining an injury in France's Nations League final win, Manchester United have confirmed.

Varane had to be replaced by Dayot Upamecano just before half-time in Les Bleus' 2-1 victory over Spain.

The centre-back went to ground off the ball and was quickly withdrawn from the match, with United now confirming he sustained a groin injury.

A brief statement read: "Raphael Varane sustained a groin muscle injury in the Nations League final and has commenced rehabilitation at the club.

"He will be out for a few weeks."

It comes as a massive blow to United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of a potentially pivotal few weeks.

While it is unclear exactly how many games Varane will miss, the central defender will be absent for a chunk of what looks set to be a gruelling run of matches.

United face Leicester City, Atalanta twice, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City all in the next four weeks.

After a rather erratic start to 2021-22 consisting of just five wins from 10 matches across all competitions, Solskjaer heads into the upcoming run under pressure.

To make matters worse, there was already uncertainty over the condition of captain – and Varane's regular centre-back partner – Harry Maguire, who missed the clashes with Villarreal and Everton due to a calf injury before the international break that prevented him from linking up with England.

Whether Maguire will be fit to face former club Leicester at the weekend is yet to be determined, meaning the rather haphazard Eric Bailly and the dislodged Victor Lindelof could form an unfamiliar partnership at the back.

Although United have come in for criticism so far this term, Varane's early form has largely been considered positive and he has performed an important function in getting the team on the front foot, with his 7.6 passes into the final third per 90 minutes the most among the club's defenders.

Related items

  • Man Utd boss Solskjaer takes training as club hold off making a change Man Utd boss Solskjaer takes training as club hold off making a change

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took training at Manchester United on Tuesday as the under-pressure manager looked set to avoid losing his job for now.

    A 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday was the lowest point of the Norwegian's time in charge, with a third loss of the Premier League season leaving United eight points behind early leaders Chelsea.

    His first-team squad reassembled at the club's Carrington training base two days on from that debacle, with Solskjaer still at the helm. He reportedly arrived early in the morning to put his players through their paces.

    Senior United officials are said to have held a meeting on Monday, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward joined by managing director Richard Arnold and co-chairman Joel Glazer.

    United have repeatedly backed the Norwegian, who took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, initially as an interim appointment. They consider the former United striker an ideal figurehead, and Solskjaer remains a popular figure among supporters, even with those who want a change of manager.

    The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Solskjaer still retains the support of Woodward, Arnold and United's influential former manager Alex Ferguson, with Joel Glazer set to have the final say. Similarly, The Telegraph said Solskjaer has been given three games to show he should be retained.

    United would be wary of removing Solskjaer if there is no suitable candidate available to replace the 48-year-old, and early signs point to him likely remaining in charge for the Premier League clash with Tottenham on Saturday. That is followed by games against Atalanta and Manchester City.

    Former Chelsea, Inter, Juventus and Italy boss Antonio Conte has been linked as a possible successor and is said to be open to the idea; however, Zinedine Zidane would not be interested in the job, according to reports in Spain, where he had two spells in charge of Real Madrid.

    Solskjaer's disappointment after the Old Trafford defeat was plain, as he said: "I have never felt any worse than this. This is the lowest I have been. I accept the responsibility. That is mine today and it is mine going forward.

    "I do believe in myself and I am getting close to what we want at the club. The results lately haven't been good enough. Hands up. Next week is Tottenham away. Then Atalanta. Then Man City. We have to go into this with the right frame of mind."

    In July, Solskjaer signed a new three-year contract at United, and the club backed him as Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane joined during the transfer window.

    He has an average points-per-game record of 1.83, which is the third highest in United's Premier League history. In that respect he only trails his predecessor Mourinho (1.89) and the long-serving Ferguson (2.16).

    Solskjaer has a 51.89 per cent win record from his 106 Premier League games in charge of the Red Devils to date.

  • If a day comes where I don't enjoy it, I'll go and play golf – Koeman reaffirms commitment to Barcelona If a day comes where I don't enjoy it, I'll go and play golf – Koeman reaffirms commitment to Barcelona

    Ronald Koeman says he has no intention of stepping down as Barcelona head coach.

    Koeman has endured a difficult start to the new season, with Barca ninth in LaLiga and suffering back-to-back Champions League group stage defeats for the first time since 2000-01.

    The Catalan side went down 2-1 to Real Madrid on Sunday, Koeman becoming just the second manager to lose all three of his opening El Clasico meetings.

    Koeman's car was mobbed by fans as he left Camp Nou following that defeat to Barca's fierce rivals.

    However, the former Netherlands boss assured that he remains committed to his role as he prepares to take on Rayo Vallecano, who Barca have won their last 13 LaLiga games against.

    "I am older in this, I want to enjoy the atmosphere that there was the other day on the field [for El Clasico]," Koeman told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

    "I accept the results. I want to enjoy [my time here], if it is eight years, if it is one year and yes if it's three months.

    "There are things as a coach that you don't like, but I like being with the players, preparing the games, analysing and having to decide is what I like.

    "The other day I loved the game, Not the result because it was a Clasico, but the atmosphere. We made merits for another result, we need a little luck.

    "These things are the ones I like, and if a day comes when I don't enjoy it, I'll go and dedicate myself to playing golf five days a week. I understand that it is a delicate situation, but there is a future in this club."

    Barca are winless in three LaLiga away games, failing to score in their last two trips. They have not gone three consecutive games on the road without scoring since February 2003.

    The Blaugrana, however, have won on their past two visits to newly-promoted top-flight teams without conceding a goal and Koeman appreciates the importance of a reaction on Wednesday.

    "There is always a need to win, especially after the defeat the other day," he continued. "The team is able to react well."

    Asked whether he was not enjoying his time with Barca and whether a new coach would withstand the pressure he is under, Koeman responded: "It depends, if the results are good or bad and the team you are in.

    "[Madrid boss Carlo] Ancelotti encouraged me, he knows perfectly well about the situation because he has been in great teams.

    "I don't know, it is important to know the situation, be a former player from here and have character if the wind comes against. I am like that and I want to see how far I can go."

  • Coman one of the top wingers in the world when fit, says Nagelsmann Coman one of the top wingers in the world when fit, says Nagelsmann

    Julian Nagelsmann claimed Kingsley Coman is "one of the top wingers in the world" when fit and said the Frenchman must remain patient for a chance at Bayern Munich.

    Coman, 25, joined Bayern initially on a two-year loan from Juventus in 2015 and subsequently made the move permanent.

    The France international underwent a minor heart operation in September and has managed just 84 minutes in the Bundesliga this term with the Bavarian giants.

    Nagelsmann, however, insisted that Coman ranks among the best in his position on his day as he addressed questions over his rotational policy ahead of Bayern's DFB-Pokal clash with Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

    "I've emphasised many times that King [Coman] is an amazing person who I really enjoy working with," Nagelsmann, who is self-isolating due to a positive COVID-19 test, told reporters on Tuesday.

    "I think he's one of the top wingers in the world when he's fit. I would like to work with him for many years to come."

    Among Bayern players, Coman leads the charts for dribbles completed across all competitions (500) since his debut on September 12, 2015 – Thiago Alcantara ranks second on that list, some 124 behind the Frenchman.

    Indeed, the former Juventus attacker has attempted 276 more dribbles than any of his other team-mates in that same period while scoring 42 times and recording 40 assists.

    Coman also ranks fifth at the club in this time-span when it comes to chances created, sitting behind Thiago (279), Robert Lewandowski (305), Joshua Kimmich (521) and Thomas Muller (605), with the 274 opportunities he has worked for Bayern.

    However, starting chances under Hansi Flick and subsequently Nagelsmann have diminished as Coman seemingly falls behind Serge Gnabry, Muller, Leroy Sane and now Jamal Musiala.

    Nagelsmann appreciates the quality of depth he has in that position with his new side, as he attempts to utilise the abundance of talent he has at his disposal.

    "We're very well positioned on the wing positions," Nagelsmann said.

    "All the players are in exceptional form. It takes a lot of courage, everyone plays or with a certain workload control. Not everyone agrees. I can understand that. But they are all healthy and we want to take advantage of that.

    "In the last few years this has not always been the case, so we mustn't complain now. And maybe they will play at the same time."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.