‘Ready for this opportunity’: Solskjaer drops hint defender will start v Granada

Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are all suspended for Manchester United’s Europa League second leg against Granada.

The Red Devils go into the tie with a two away goal advantage, so they already have one foot in the Europa League semi-finals but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must ensure those players who stand in their place can get us over the line.

It’s not an almighty task by any means. United are in a strong position and I always fancy us to score. Granada, who have a massive hill to climb, didn’t show enough in the first leg to cause much concern.

Will Fish is in contention to be involved for the first time against Granada after joining first-team training this week.

Solskjaer told the press he has players ready to deputise on Thursday night.

“It is never a positive not to have everyone available,” he said, as per Manchester Evening News. “But we have players ready to deputise. We are ready to deal with that.

“We have to make sure we go through, I always pick a team I think will win a game. We will go into the game wanting to win this. We want to improve our performances. There will be a few changes, yeah. Some forced, some rotation.”

With Paul Pogba a yellow card away from missing the first leg of a potential semi-final, Solskjaer was then asked if he would rest players at risk of suspension. He definitely wasn’t fond of the idea.

“No,” the manager answered. “We go into games having to do everything we need to do to win. We don’t want any lazy yellow cards, just play the game properly.”

Solskjaer also confirmed that Eric Bailly has returned to Manchester but won’t be available for tomorrow’s game, saying: “Eric is not available for tomorrow no. He has travelled back, yeah.”

While many of you will be wondering whether Fish gets his debut against Granada, I don’t think he’ll be in the starting XI because it’s a great opportunity for Axel Tuanzebe to stand in and make an impression.

The manager admitted during his press conference that Tuanzebe is behind several defenders in the pecking order at Old Trafford. He also hinted that the English centre-back would start the game, so I think we’ll see Victor Lindelof partner him.

“Axel has always been a very positive and hard working boy.

“Victor and Harry have formed a very good partnership, his chances have been limited. He is ready for this opportunity.

“I don’t think (abuse on social media) affected him.”

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