Erling Haaland will miss Manchester City’s final Champions League group game at Red Star Belgrade but is set to return to training on Thursday, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

The prolific Norwegian missed the Premier League win at Luton on Sunday with a foot problem and has not travelled to Serbia for Wednesday’s European dead rubber.

It remains unclear if the 23-year-old will be fit for the visit of Crystal Palace on Saturday but Guardiola has suggested the player could soon be back in action.

The City boss told reporters at a press conference: “He will be back on Thursday, I think. We will see how he feels.

“I don’t know right now (when he will be back) but the next press conference I could be more precise.”

City are also without Jeremy Doku in Belgrade because of a muscular problem while Kevin De Bruyne, who has been out since August, is not yet ready to rejoin the squad.

Goalkeeper Ederson is also sitting out that game, handing an opportunity to deputy Stefan Ortega.

There is nothing riding on the game at the Rajko Mitic Stadium with holders City having already won Group G and Red Star, who lost 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium in September, condemned to last place.

Consequently, Guardiola intends to make some changes as he looks ahead to the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia next week, although he insists he will continue to demand the highest standards.

“We approach the game like we did the first game in Manchester, the same way,” he said. “The players have to perform. We’ve prepared really well. I hope we can do a good game.

“But of course we are going to rotate some players because after we have three days, travel, semi-final, potential final.

“Tomorrow I’ll be very pleased to see many players who didn’t play lately involved.”

One of those players to feature will be Ortega, who joined Guardiola for pre-match media duties.

The German said: “I’m happy for every game I get here and tomorrow could be the next chance for me to show my best version.”

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has insisted he had no idea Sandro Tonali had a gambling problem before he was sold to Champions League opponents Newcastle.

The 23-year-old Italy international joined the Magpies in a £55million summer switch from Milan and played in a 0-0 draw against his former club in their Champions League Group F opener at San Siro in September.

However, he is now serving a 10-month ban for breaches of betting regulations during his time in Italy, robbing the Tyneside club of a key man for the remainder of this season.

Asked if he knew about Tonali’s problem when he was sold, Pioli said at his press conference at St James’ Park on Tuesday evening: “No, I didn’t know anything about Sandro’s problem.

“He was very polite, respected and respectful to others, he was a very sensible boy.

“Even if I feel I have an open relationship with the players, I only talk to them about football. What they do outside, I don’t know everything about them.”

Asked further if he backed the player to get through his current difficulties, Pioli added: “Absolutely, yes. His football quality and tactical quality, technical, physical quality, there’s no doubt about him. He’s a great player.

“We’re close to Sandro. When he was with us, he was a really cheerful, positive young man, close to the team, popular, very important to the team’s rise, applied himself, worked hard, very willing to help the team.

“Unfortunately, he fell into a delicate situation. We’re with him, we’re close to him and we hope this experience will teach him and help him be better in the future.”

Tonali’s suspension came just 12 games into his Newcastle career, but Pioli is confident the Premier League club will reap the rewards of their investment.

He said: “At the moment they signed him, it was a good deal, they signed a very good player. Then what happened afterwards, no-one could have expected it.”

If Tonali’s departure left a significant gap in Milan, another was plugged this week when it was announced that former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had returned to the club as a “senior adviser”.

Asked for his reaction, Pioli said: “Zlatan is taking the next step of his career. He’s always been a top character, a top player. He’s faced every challenge with determination, with intelligence and this is a new challenge for him and he’ll show the same personality, the same characteristics to do everything to help the club.”

Both sides head into Wednesday night’s game able to finish second, third or fourth in the group, but neither have their fate in their own hands with victory a must if they are to stand any chance of making the last 16.

Pioli said: “We’ve got one objective, we’ve only got one chance – win the match.

“I know the team will do everything they can to win the game. I know what’s awaiting us, I know what kind of team they are, I know what kind of stadium it is, but our team will do everything we can to come through this big, big challenge.”

Xavi believes he is on the way to creating a “great Barcelona” side but he wants improvement as they close their Champions League group stage at Royal Antwerp.

Barca are already guaranteed a place in the last 16 and are virtually assured top spot in Group H, barring some unlikely results.

The Spanish club have not been at the top table of European football for a while, having last won the Champions League in 2015, but Xavi, who was a key player in the side that dominated the game a decade ago, can see progress.

“We want to end the group stage having done what we need to do,” he said on Barcelona’s website.

“We have to be much more effective. We create a lot of chances to win games earlier. We have to be better in front of goal, but also improve our defensive robustness.

“We have to show consistency to achieve targets and trophies. We are on the way to creating a great Barca side.

“The team is together and a close-knit group.”

The Belgian side have lost all five of their group games so far, but Xavi still respects the team managed by his former team-mate Mark van Bommel.

 

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“They are a good team and Van Bommel is doing a very good job, and he wants to leave a mark playing football based on teamwork,” Xavi added.

“We will decide which players will feature after training and prior to the game, but it is a good chance to give opportunities to young players and others who haven’t played that much.

“Logically we will make changes.”

Inaki Pena is almost certain to continue in goal after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had back surgery last week.

“The injury to Ter Stegen is not good news,” the goalkeeper said. “It makes me proud to be playing in this shirt.

“I have trained every day thinking that this day would come because you never know what can happen. At a club like Barca you can’t relax for a single day.

“I have been training for a long time with Ter Stegen and it is a pleasure to be able to learn from one of the best players in the world.

“Picking things up from him has made me a better goalkeeper.”

Arsenal’s much-changed side were lucky to leave the Netherlands with a 1-1 draw in their dead-rubber Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven.

A goal apiece either side of half-time saw the top two in Group B share the spoils as Eddie Nketiah’s first Champions League goal was cancelled out by Yorbe Vertessen’s smart finish in a draw.

Manager Mikel Arteta said on the eve of the game that, whoever represented Arsenal had a “duty” to win – but his unfamiliar XI were second-best for much of the night.

Arsenal had already secured top spot in Group B, with PSV assured of qualifying alongside them, and the Gunners showed eight changes to the five alterations made by the hosts.

Despite ringing in the changes, Arteta named first-choice centre-back pairing William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes and the duo were on hand to prevent PSV taking an early lead.

A fine ball from Malik Tillman played in Johan Bakayoko, who squared for Ricardo Pepi – only for a combination of Saliba and recalled goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to stop a shot, with Gabriel brilliantly blocking the follow-up effort from Patrick van Aanholt.

The Arsenal defence was struggling to prevent the hosts breaking at their goal, even with Saliba and Gabriel present, and Vertessen rattled a post with a header after 19 minutes.

Bakayoko was the next to have Ramsdale diving at full-stretch but his shot from distance flashed just wide of a post.

Arsenal would hit the woodwork themselves just before the half-hour as Mohamed Elneny let fly with a trademark long-range effort that hit the base of a post before a well-worked PSV counter ended with Saliba blocking Pepi’s shot.

Arteta’s side had begun life back in the Champions League after a seven-year absence by easing to victory over PSV at the Emirates in September and, despite this rotated line-up, they would strike first once more.

Nketiah broke the deadlock three minutes before the break with his first proper sight of goal, angling a low drive through the legs of PSV skipper Andre Ramalho and in off the inside of a post.

Ramsdale turned a Bakayoko shot around a post to send Arsenal in ahead at the interval, even though the hosts had dominated for much of the first half.

Vertessen dragged a shot just wide soon after the restart but moments later he deservedly levelled, Saliba this time leaving himself out of position by diving in for an interception and the Belgian curling past Ramsdale.

Arteta made three alterations just after the hour, one enforced as Elneny came off with what appeared to be a thigh problem, with captain Martin Odegaard on in his place, joining both Declan Rice and Ben White off the bench.

Rice went in at centre-back in place of Saliba but was almost caught out minutes later, Ismael Saibari getting the better of the club-record signing before striking a post with Ramsdale beaten.

Jakub Kiwior headed in an Odegaard free-kick with 10 minutes to go but the goal was ruled out for offside against fellow defender Gabriel, who had also attacked the ball.

Not for the first time, Gabriel completely failed to deal with a simple forward ball, leaving Guus Til to burst through and fire wide late on as the tie finished all-square.

Paris St Germain captain Marquinhos insists they cannot afford to waste the opportunity of securing a place in the Champions League knockout stages.

The Ligue 1 side face Group F leaders Borussia Dortmund in Germany knowing victory will see them progress as winners, while a draw – providing Newcastle do not beat AC Milan – would be enough to see them through as runners-up.

There is even the fail-safe of a draw on Tyneside putting them through regardless of their own result but Marquinhos wants the team the seize the initiative themselves.

“If I thought this team didn’t have the character to win, I would have stayed at home,” he said.

“This is the type of match that everyone wants to play. Destiny is in our hands.

“It’s the only trophy missing for me here. It’s the dream of many players. We must not let (the chance to win) a trophy go to waste.”

PSG will be without the suspended Ousmane Dembele while a late decision will be made on Goncalo Ramos, who has flu and did not train at Signal Iduna Park.

But head coach Luis Enrique is confident even if the Portugal international does not make it he has enough quality in his squad to inflict Dortmund’s first home Champions League defeat in over two years.

“With the squad I have, it’s always easier to replace an absent player,” he said.

“It will never be an excuse. I will never complain about the absence of a player.”

PSG have yet to win the Champions League, which remains the holy grail for their Qatari owners, but aside from finishing runners-up and semi-finalists in 2019-20 and 2020-21 they have not made it past the last 16 since 2016.

Luis Enrique is the fifth head coach since then to be tasked with winning Europe’s elite club competition but having won it with Barcelona he knows all about high expectations.

“The pressure at PSG is on a daily basis but the preparation for the match remains the same; we will work on the type of football we want to play, the things we want to see happen in the match,” he added.

“I am in a very calm state of mind and with the dream and the hope that we are going to have a great match.

“We saw the qualities of the opponent (in PSG’s 2-0 win at home) but we also saw that they have difficulty defending.

“We have scored in all our matches in the competition and tomorrow the aim is to try to win.”

Eddie Howe is dreaming of a “magical European night” as Newcastle attempt to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Head coach Howe will go into Wednesday night’s must-win clash with AC Milan at St James’ Park with back-up keeper Martin Dubravka having emerged as yet another selection doubt, but knowing that a win over the Serie A giants could be enough for the Magpies to extend their stay at Europe’s top table.

While injury-plagued Newcastle’s fate it not in their own hands – even victory would mean they would slip into the Europa League should Paris St Germain win at Borussia Dortmund, while defeat would see them finish bottom of Group F – the man who guided them into the competition for the first time in 20 years is allowing himself to hope.

 

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Asked how much he had enjoyed the competition, Howe said: “I’ve really enjoyed the Champions League. My only frustration is that we have not had the freedom to attack the competition as we would have liked to have done (because of injuries).

“That’s my only feeling that I’m left with that is negative.

“The tournament itself is special, the places we have been are incredible, the stadiums, the atmospheres and the experiences we have had at home have all been memorable.

“We have one more game to go and we have to make this as memorable as possible.

“My message to the fans is to make this a magical European night. They can only do so much, we have to do our bit to make it that.”

Since the competition got under way in September, Howe’s plans have been radically altered by circumstances beyond his control with Sandro Tonali’s 10-month suspension and a series of injuries which is only just starting to abate having severely reduced his options.

Slovakia international Dubravka has started the last two league games in place of Nick Pope, who dislocated his shoulder during the 1-0 win over Manchester United on December 2, but his absence from training on Tuesday morning could prove significant with Loris Karius, who played in the Champions League final for Liverpool in May 2018, standing by.

Asked if the 34-year-old would be fit, a coy Howe said: “That is slightly unclear.”

On a brighter note, striker Callum Wilson and midfielder Sean Longstaff both returned from injury as substitutes at Tottenham on Sunday and Wilson, who damaged a hamstring during the 2-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund on November 7, in particular is desperate to make up for lost time.

The 31-year-old England frontman is yet to score in the competition, but is convinced there is a reason for that.

Wilson said: “I personally believe it hasn’t come yet because it’s waiting for a special moment to happen, and what a story it would be if it’s the winning goal tomorrow night.

“We will leave blood, sweat and tears out there. It’s what we do every time we step over the white line and for us as a football club, it’s about having no regrets.

“We have an opportunity in front of us and all we can do is focus on Milan.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has hinted he will hand some players Champions League auditions as they close an unsuccessful campaign against Feyenoord.

Celtic have one point from five games and a 2-0 defeat against Lazio last time out consigned them to bottom spot and the Dutch champions to third place in Group E.

Rodgers has handed rare starts to Tomoki Iwata, Mikey Johnston and Oh Hyeon-gyu in the past two domestic games and he will partly use Wednesday’s match to continue assessing his January transfer window needs.

Rodgers, who will again be without Cameron Carter-Vickers and Daizen Maeda, said: “Because of the situation we have with injuries and with all the games, it will give the opportunity for players to play.

“When we reach January, a lot of the players in the squad will have the opportunity to play games and play games through all the levels, and then can be assessed from there.

“But whatever team we put out, we are putting a team out always to win at Celtic. There’s no gifts, there’s no free games.

“Every game is to win and, even though disappointingly we won’t have anything in Europe after Christmas, we are still playing for pride here and the support. So we will have a team looking to fight for the result.

“It’s our last game here in the competition and we want to give the supporters something to go home happy with.

“Our attitude is exactly the same, to go and look to win the game. And we do that by playing our way. I think we showed at the weekend, once we divert from that, we don’t have the same qualities and it’s not our strength. Our strength is to play the way we want to play.”

Rodgers felt his side deviated from their positive passing game as they lost a half-time lead at Kilmarnock to suffer their first cinch Premiership defeat of the season.

“The value of the game at the weekend is we know what the issues were,” he said.

“In the St Johnstone game, the intensity wasn’t right and we fixed that. Sunday for us, when we analysed the game, we didn’t play with the poise that we need to play with in the second half.

“But at least we see that and we can take that learning into the game on Wednesday.”

Celtic have now gone 15 Champions League group games without victory, a run stretching back to Rodgers’ first spell in charge.

But the manager dismissed the long-term significance of getting a morale-boosting win ahead of next season’s European campaign.

“It’s still such a long way to go,” he said. “And probably, come this time next year, the squad may look a lot different again.

“We can only focus on the present and for us it’s performing to the level we know we can consistently.

“We have done that in spells over the course of this competition and played some really high-level football and showed in those moments that we belong at the level. But you have to do that consistently.”

Carter-Vickers and Maeda trained on Tuesday and Rodgers hopes they can return from recent lay-offs when his side host Hearts in the league on Saturday.

Reo Hatate was training on his own after returning from Japan following the first part of his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury.

The midfielder does not look likely to return before the winter break.

Erling Haaland was not involved as Manchester City trained in front of media cameras prior to their Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade.

The prolific Norway striker had already seemed likely to miss Wednesday’s final Group G game in Serbia after sitting out the Premier League win at Luton on Sunday with a foot injury.

Manager Pep Guardiola was unsure how long Haaland would be out when asked over the weekend, but expressed hope he would be fit for their opening Club World Cup match in Saudi Arabia next week.

That would also mean the 23-year-old, who has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season, missing Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

Winger Jeremy Doku was also absent from the part of the training session that media were allowed to film at the City Football Academy on Tuesday morning.

The Belgian has missed the last two games with a muscular problem.

Goalkeeper Ederson was also not involved, suggesting the Brazilian could be rested in Belgrade with number two Stefan Ortega given an opportunity.

There is nothing riding on the game for City, who have already qualified for the knockout stages as group winners.

Guardiola was likely to give an update on the squad at a press conference in Serbia on Tuesday evening.

Carlo Ancelotti says he is not planning major player rotation for Tuesday’s final Champions League group game against Union Berlin in Germany.

Real have already won their group and reached the last 16 following five successive victories.

They are the only team in the tournament with a 100 per cent record, but, even though it is an emphatic case of job done, manager Ancelotti does not envisage wholesale changes.

Real drew 1-1 at Real Betis on Saturday and Ancelotti said: “We need to evaluate how the players that played against Betis recover, then we will choose the best possible starting XI.

“If there are some tired players who don’t recover very well, they will rest, but we don’t think about a big rotation with a lot of players resting.

“We will rotate some players if we see any risk, if the players are tired. The ones who played and don’t have any fatigue will be no problem at all.

“Our main goal was to finish top of the group, so we want to put in a good performance and close out the group stage on a high.

Ancelotti has confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalaga will start in goal, but a lengthy list of injury absentees includes keeper Thibaut Courtois, Vinicius Junior and Eduardo Camavinga.

“This is a very special competition,” Ancelotti added at his pre-match press conference in Berlin.

“Real Madrid are always favourites to win this competition whatever happens in the group stage.

“It is always difficult to win it, but we have the quality to fight for it until the end.”

Whether in-form England star Jude Bellingham, who has scored 16 goals in the Champions League and LaLiga this season, is rested or not remains to be seen.

But his stunning impact since moving to Real is not lost on his team-mates, least of all midfielder Lucas Vazquez.

“What a player. We are thrilled to have him here,” Vazquez told Real Madrid’s official website.

“The kind of player he is was clear from day one. He helps the team with his goals and works as hard as anyone.

“He is really enjoying Real Madrid, and I hope he can keep up his form and continue helping Madrid in every facet of the game.

“The team is on a great run, it’s been a strong start to the season. The aim is to finish with a 100 per cent record, so we will try and put on a good display and win the game.

“This season, despite all the injuries we’ve had, the team has not faltered from its winning mentality.

“Whoever plays, the team remains the same and that reflects very well on the group we have here.”

Thomas Tuchel has warned Manchester United there will be no let-up as already-qualified Bayern Munich attempt to extinguish the Old Trafford giants’ European hopes.

The perennial Bundesliga champions opened Group A with a 4-3 home win against the Red Devils and went on to seal progress to the Champions League knockout phase with two matches to spare.

Bayern are among the favourites to win a competition that United will be out of on Tuesday unless they seal a home win while Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw in the other final group game.

Erik ten Hag’s men would be guaranteed of at least Europa League football if they win a match that Tuchel says his side will approach with full focus despite wrapping up top spot.

“I understand that some people thought that against Copenhagen it looked like we weren’t throwing everything into it,” the Bayern boss said, referring to the 0-0 home draw a fortnight ago.

“But when you sign for Bayern or United, you sign to give 100 per cent every day.

“When you wear the Bayern Munich jersey, you behave like champions, there’s no other way.

“We have high expectations, even if we are always under pressure. United will give everything tomorrow to get through.

“But we expect a top performance from us. I hope we can match United’s enthusiasm and energy, which I’m sure they’ll bring to the game.”

United are not only desperate to stay in Europe but also determined to atone for Saturday’s shocking 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, which saw Ten Hag’s inconsistent side booed off the field.

“They’re always a dangerous team, they have a certain aura about them,” said Tuchel of United as Bayern look to maintain their competition record unbeaten 39-match run in the group stage.

“It’s part of the club’s DNA that they can survive difficult moments. They have ups and downs in their game, but they’ve conceded a lot of goals recently.

“In strong moments, you can see what they’re really capable of. The stadium creates special moments. It will be a big challenge for us.”

Bayern are looking to bounce back from a shocking loss of their own, having lost 5-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon.

It was their first Bundesliga defeat of the season and third in all competitions – losses they bounced back from with 4-0 away victories on both occasions.

Bayern sharpshooter Harry Kane admitted their performance against Frankfurt “wasn’t good enough” and said the group was fully focused on showing the “right reaction” at Old Trafford.

The England captain has hit the ground running and scored 22 goals since joining from Tottenham during a summer he was strongly linked to long-term admirers United.

“Every fan wants Harry to play in their team,” former Chelsea boss Tuchel said. “We’re very proud we were able to sign Harry.

“He’s a great character and a great role model, a terrific player. He scores a lot of goals and will be very happy to play here tomorrow.

“It’s a great story that we were able to bring the England captain, your centre forward, to Germany.”

Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri has warned his side not to rest on their laurels as they look to nail down a spot in the Champions League knockout stages, despite knowing they could lose their final group game and still progress.

The Italians are handily placed behind Group C winners Real Madrid, sitting three points and three goals clear of their Portuguese opponents Braga ahead of Tuesday’s clash in Naples.

Having also won the reverse fixture, the Serie A outfit know they can win, draw or even go down by a single goal in order to reach the last 16, but Mazzarri expects them to be on their game.

Since marking his return to the club a month ago with victory at Atalanta, he has overseen three successive defeats, with Real, Juventus and league leaders Inter Milan presenting a fiercely difficult sequence of opponents.

And that means finding their feet is crucial, regardless of the equation in front of them.

“I don’t want to even say that we can go through, even if we lose with a one-goal margin,” he told Sky Sports Italia.

“We are not a team that can make these calculations, but a team that must play its own game, have a little more balance than the last few outings and only think about this. If we were to do something different we would just have a bad game.

“It is fundamental to get through the round, without giving anything away, and play with solidity. Against Braga it is essential to regain certainties.”

Mazzarri will make a late decision on the role of striker Victor Osimhen, with the Nigerian having flown to Marrakech to be present for Monday’s African footballer of the year ceremony.

The six-goal top-scorer is making a swift return to rejoin his team-mates, but Mazzarri will need to judge whether or not to name him in the starting XI following his exertions.

“He’ll be back tomorrow, I’ll talk to him and we’ll see if he’ll be in a position to start from the first,” he said.

“The Africa Cup of Nations will take place soon and we will have to do without him then, but we have two important players like (Giacomo) Raspadori and (Giovanni) Simeone who have already demonstrated that they are important in the past.”

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been struggling with illness over recent days and could be a doubt, while Braga have Nigou Siakate, whose own-goal handed Napoli the win in the earlier fixture, suspended.

While the visitors face a stiff challenge trying to leapfrog their opponents, they have similar leeway of their own over Union Berlin.

A draw would be sufficient to send them into the Europa League play-offs and will take that spot even if they lose, providing Union do not upset Real.

Inter Milan defender Matteo Darmian insists they will need the “right attitude” to beat Real Sociedad and finish first in Group D of the Champions League.

Inter have already qualified for the last 16 of the tournament and came back from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Benfica last time out.

The comeback enabled them to keep their undefeated streak going in the competition this season but they will need victory to ensure they top the group.

Tuesday’s opponents have also qualified but need to avoid defeat at San Siro to ensure they go through as group winners.

Former Manchester United defender Darmian knows the hosts face a challenge.

He told a press conference: “Tomorrow, we’ll go out there, as we have always have done since the start of the season, and try to win, but we know it won’t be easy.

“We want to win and we’ll need the right attitude and desire to do so.

“We already knew before the start of the group how difficult it was to play against Real Sociedad. They are a strong, organised team with great pace and quality.

“They’ve shown this throughout the group stages and deservedly qualified, too. We want to win so we can finish top of the group.”

Inter reached the Champions League final last season before losing the final against Manchester City 1-0.

Darmian insists they are learning from what went wrong last season in a bid to go one step further.

He continued: “As I said before, we have tried to learn from last year’s mistakes and have been working in the best possible way since day one.

“We have a great squad; we have so far shown that, but the season is still long and we must keep pushing on as we are.

“I don’t think much has changed, we always try to play the best we can and with the right determination to take home the win.

“Last year, we couldn’t get a consistent run together but this year we’re trying not to repeat the mistakes of last season.”

The 34-year-old is one of the experienced members in the squad and has played his part in helping the club keep an impressive 12 clean sheets in all competitions so far this season.

Asked whether this period is the best moment of his career, Darmian said: “I don’t think there is a secret; I don’t know if this is the best moment of my career.

“I’m certainly pleased to receive this trust from everyone; it’s something that pushes me every day to give more and more.

“When the coach selects me to play, I always try to give my best and help the team achieve its goals.

“This is a healthy and strong squad; we feel good around each other and we also transmit that out onto the pitch. We are on the right path and we must keep carrying on as we are.”

Erik ten Hag is confident his inconsistent but talented Manchester United side can beat Bayern Munich to stay in Europe as they pray for a Champions League miracle.

The Red Devils’ Group A campaign has been punctuated by goals, madness and mistakes, leaving their hopes of reaching the knockout phase hanging by a thread.

United have just four points and sit bottom of the pool heading into the final match against already-qualified Bayern, meaning progress is out of their hands.

Ten Hag’s men need to become the first side to beat the German outfit in a Champions League group game since September 2017 and hope Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw in the other game.

United are guaranteed at least a place in the Europa League if they win on a night that the Dutchman is heading into without thinking about the impact of failing to qualify from the group.

He said: “I don’t know. What I know is I never think in a negative scenario. We think positive, so we know what to do.

“We have to win to stay in Europe, so it’s all about that.

“We will prepare the team with that feeling and with that belief that we are able to do it and I think we have shown in the last weeks when we are on our best then we can do it.”

United limp into this match on the back of Saturday’s awful 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, which led Ten Hag to admit his team were not good enough to be consistent high performers.

But the Dutchman remains confident his side possesses the quality to beat the best as they look to end Bayern’s competition record 39-match unbeaten group-stage run.

“It’s our team (that gives me hope),” Ten Hag said. “We are not consistent. Clear.

“But we have also a very good performance and highs, so if we get it when we are in the right spirit, then we are able to do it and we are able to beat any opponent.

“The game against Chelsea (gives me belief), the game against Everton, even the game against Galatasaray.

“So, I know this team can perform really at high levels and it’s not that we did it three months ago. No, we did it last week, so I know we can do it.

“When we have the right mood, we have the right spirit, it starts with the right attitude, if everyone is ready for it, we are able to do it.”

United’s previous two Champions League matches have been on the road – a 4-3 defeat to Copenhagen at a rocking Parken Stadium before receiving their ‘Welcome to Hell’ in Turkey a fortnight ago.

Ten Hag’s men blew a two-goal lead in a frustrating 3-3 draw at hostile Galatasaray and the Red Devils boss stressed the importance of the Old Trafford crowd on Tuesday.

“I think Old Trafford is not a nice place to come for an opponent, and we are aware of it,” Ten Hag said.

“It starts with us but then, of course, you hope that the fans we are together.

“As long as I’m here, I always have the feeling we are absolutely together. There’s a very strong bond between the team and the fans.

“They’re always behind this, even when we have big setbacks. They’re staying behind us, they’re supporting us, so very happy with that.

“But we have to take the responsibility. It starts with us, we have to energise them.”

United are still juggling with a number of key injuries as they prepare to host Bayern and travel to rivals Liverpool on Sunday, with Victor Lindelof a doubt having missed the Bournemouth defeat through injury.

“It’s a condensed programme, so we have a training (to come),” Ten Hag said.

“So in this moment, I’m not sure about everyone and who is available for tomorrow.

“So, a question mark is, for instance, on Victor Lindelof if he can make it or not.

“We have to wait and to see until tomorrow, then we know.”

The final round of fixtures in the group stages of this season’s European competitions take place this week.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what is at stake for the British clubs involved.

Champions League

It is crunch time for Manchester United and Newcastle in their bids to reach the knockout stages.

Erik ten Hag’s inconsistent side must beat Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on Tuesday and hope the clash between Copenhagen and Galatasaray ends in a draw to leapfrog both and progress from Group A.

Defeat would end United’s European campaign without even the consolation of a Europa League place.

Newcastle, third in Group F, need to beat AC Milan at St James’ Park on Wednesday to have any hope of going through but that will not be enough if second-placed Paris St Germain overcome Borussia Dortmund.

Having already qualified as winners of their groups, the pressure is off for Arsenal and Manchester City as they travel to PSV Eindhoven and Red Star Belgrade respectively.

Winless Celtic are condemned to last place in Group E and sign off by hosting a Feyenoord side certain to finish third.

Europa League

Rangers travel to Group C leaders Real Betis with qualification on the line.

Victory would seal it for Philippe Clement’s side but anything less would open the door for Sparta Prague, who face bottom side Aris Limassol.

West Ham and Brighton are already through but top spots in their respective Groups A and B – which mean avoiding a play-off tie against a team dropping out of the Champions League – are still to be determined.

The Hammers’ clash with Freiburg and Brighton’s meeting with Marseille, both at home, are effectively shootouts for first place.

Liverpool are already guaranteed top place in Group E regardless of their result at Belgian league leaders Union Saint-Gilloise.

Europa Conference League

Aston Villa have already secured their place in the knockout stages and will win Group E if they avoid defeat at Bosnian side Zrinjski Mostar.

Aberdeen, who are out of contention, end their campaign at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has warned more VAR would “ruin” football after finding himself on the wrong end of a controversial decision.

Football’s lawmakers are considering options to extend the system’s use at the same time as a debate over its effectiveness in its current form rages on.

The Magpies were denied a Champions League victory at Paris St Germain on Tuesday after Polish referee Szymon Marciniak was asked to review a decision not to award a penalty for handball against Tino Livramento by VAR official Thomas Kwiatkowski and changed his mind to allow Kylian Mbappe to level in stoppage time.

Asked if he would like to see more or less VAR, head coach Howe said: “I’d like to see less VAR.

“I don’t have an issue with offsides because that is as close as it can be to being right, whether you agree with the decision, the lines give you a black and white yes or no. The rest, I’m not in favour.

“I still think it’s just another person’s opinion against another person’s opinion. It’s very subjective. I’d like to see less. I definitely wouldn’t want to see more because I think it would ruin the game.”

Kwiatkowski had been due to oversee Wednesday night’s Real Sociedad versus Red Bull Salzburg game in the same competition, but was stood down, a decision which brought Howe, who revealed the club have contacted UEFA to seek clarity over the penalty award, little comfort.

He said: “That for me, with VAR is an issue – not enough power is given to the on-field decision, which in this case was correct.

“I still believe – I’m old-fashioned in this – that the on-field decision should be given a little bit more strength because the referee is there, he’s feeling the game, he’s managing the game in the middle and I think that is worth something.”

Howe’s comments came as he prepared his players for Saturday evening’s Premier League clash with Manchester United at St James’ Park still contemplating a lengthy injury list, but with no new additions after an attritional night at the Parc des Princes and with hopes high that midfielders Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff will be sidelined for weeks rather than months.

Newcastle have lost just one of their last five encounters in all competitions with the Red Devils, who also suffered Champions League disappointment 24 hours later when they squandered a 3-1 lead at Galatasaray to draw 3-3, although Erik ten Hag’s side have won five of their last six league games.

Asked if he and his players could use their burning sense of injustice from Paris as added motivation, Howe said: “I always want that sense that we are against everybody outside of Newcastle when we play. I think that helps us.

“That is a good mentality to have, that we are competing against everybody else. It’s certainly served us well to this point and if it helps any individual players, then great.”

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