Maguire and Cavani to miss Manchester United's clash with PSG

By Sports Desk October 19, 2020

Manchester United will be without captain Harry Maguire and new signing Edinson Cavani for the Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. 

Maguire, whose form has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, sustained a minor injury in United's 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United on Saturday, a game in which he scored his first goal of the season. 

Cavani, meanwhile, misses the opportunity to make his Red Devils debut against the club he left at the end of the 2019-20 season. 

The Uruguayan trained with United on Sunday for the first time after quarantining for two weeks upon his arrival from France, following United Kingdom government guidelines relating to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, says the 33-year-old needs a few more days' training and could be in contention to make his United bow against Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday.

Mason Greenwood, Eric Bailly and Jesse Lingard have also been left out of United's squad for the trip to Paris.

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    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is unsure whether Juan Mata will remain at Old Trafford beyond this season.

    The Spanish midfielder has spent the last seven-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, racking up 271 appearances during that time.

    However, he has struggled for minutes this season – featuring just 16 times in all competitions – and is due to become a free agent next month.

    United have the option to trigger a 12-month extension in Mata's contract, but Solskjaer insists the player himself will have the final say over his future.

    "I've kept the dialogue with Juan and we're due to speak again very soon," he said at a news conference on Monday previewing his side's home match with Fulham. 

    "Of course, he's not played as much as he'd like and that's a decision that we'll make with him. He's in charge of his own future and he's been such a good servant for the club. 

    "But of course, it's hard, as I've said so many times, to leave good players out, good people out of the team. 

    "It's about what does he want as his next step in his career? Is it still play out his career here, or is it going somewhere else? We haven't made a final decision yet."

    Mata's appearance in a much-changed United's 2-1 loss to Leicester City last week was just his fifth start of the season in the Premier League, not helped by injuries and family matters.

    Prior to that rare outing against the Foxes, Mata had played just two minutes of top-flight football for United in 2021, coming on as a late substitute in February's 3-1 win against Newcastle United.

    He has failed to score in the league since April 2019 but does have two assists in 2020-21, which equates to 0.42 per 90 minutes and is the best record of any United player to have played more than once this term.

    Bruno Fernandes is next on the list with 0.33 assists per 90 minutes, albeit over a far greater period of 36 games compared to Mata's eight.

    The 33-year-old also ranks highly for chances created, the Spaniard's 1.69 per 90 minutes behind only Luke Shaw (2.53) and Fernandes (2.81).

    Serie A side Lazio are reportedly the favourites to sign the former Valencia and Chelsea man should he depart Old Trafford in the coming weeks. 

  • Tuchel says Chelsea must cope with undeserved losses as Liverpool close gap in top-four race Tuchel says Chelsea must cope with undeserved losses as Liverpool close gap in top-four race

    Chelsea face a challenge to cope with undeserved losses, according to manager Thomas Tuchel, as they bid to guarantee Champions League football next season.

    Qualification for Europe's top club competition via their league standing is still in the Blues' hands but, having lost 1-0 to Arsenal prior to their defeat by the same scoreline in Saturday's FA Cup final with Leicester City, they are just a point ahead of fifth-placed Liverpool with two games to go.

    The Reds claimed a dramatic 2-1 win over West Brom on Sunday to trim the deficit, goalkeeper Alisson heading in a remarkable winner at the death.

    But Tuchel sees no reason for Chelsea – who of course can still qualify for next season's competition by beating Manchester City in the Champions League final this month – to start nervously looking over their shoulders as they control their destiny going into Tuesday's rematch with Leicester.

    Instead, he views putting defeats in two games they dominated behind them as the bigger test for his side.

    Chelsea lost to Arsenal after a calamitous error by Jorginho, Tuchel's men finishing the game with an xG of 1.79 to the Gunners' 0.64.

    The cup final saw them beaten by a superb long-range effort by Youri Tielemans, with a late Wes Morgan own goal ruled out for offside as a game Chelsea ended with an xG of 0.78 to Leicester's 0.32 went in the favour of the Foxes.

    Asked if he watched Liverpool's win, Tuchel told a media conference: "I came home in the afternoon and I checked on the television and saw 1-1.

    "I checked again in the 95th minute and it was still 1-1. Then one minute later I saw. It doesn't make things boring. It was a fantastic header in the last minute that makes things interesting and tight. It's still in our hands.

    "The setback for us was the Arsenal game. We let the door open so Liverpool have a foot in the door. They're a strong team and it's what they do. We make a huge effort to overtake them and this is what we did. We should be aware of the huge performance we've made so far but we need to finish the job.

    "We need to rely on ourselves because we are in the situation where we don't have to look at other grounds.

    "We were ready to win the game in the cup final and I understand that after the Man City game there could be a drop of focus for the Arsenal game.

    "I never want it and we fight against the human side to drop a percentage but I can understand it.

    "I have no worries or regrets about Leicester. I felt my team fighting on an extremely high level. We can improve in composure and decision-making.

    "That is not new for us since we are together. So except the results, nothing much has changed.

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    Kevin De Bruyne will travel with Manchester City for their game at Brighton and Hove Albion, as Pep Guardiola insisted focus is not a problem for his team with the Champions League final looming.

    De Bruyne has not featured since his starring role in City's 4-1 aggregate Champions League semi-final triumph over Paris Saint-Germain due to a muscular complaint.

    But the Belgium playmaker is set to return to action for the recently crowned Premier League champions when they face Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.

    City round off their domestic campaign at home to Everton on Sunday, before attention turns to the Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto.

    “Yeah, he’s been training for the last two days, he feels good,” Guardiola told a pre-match news conference of De Bruyne.

    "Kevin is important like everyone is important. When we are able to stick together and push each other, it is possible to win.

    "Everyone knows it but everyone is at the same level, we will see his level and see if he is fit to play the next games."

    Guardiola handed a belated City debut to 35-year-old goalkeeper Scott Carson in last Friday's 4-3 victory over Newcastle United, where his side twice came from behind and Ferran Torres' hat-trick secured an English league record 12th consecutive away win, although Ederson will return for the season conclusion.

    A two-time winner in the Champions League going back to his time with Barcelona, Guardiola insisted focus would not be a problem for his side over the coming week.

    "We will have six days to focus on the final after the Everton game. Now it is the Brighton game," he said.

    "If you are working to prepare for Brighton, you are working the best way as possible to prepare for the final.

    "I'm pretty sure we cannot prepare the final of the Champions League if we are not ready for Brighton or Everton. We did not speak one second about Chelsea.

    "Tomorrow we'll play to win again and this is the best way to arrive to the final. In the six days, we'll be more focused on Chelsea."

    Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal last week and Liverpool's dramatic win over West Brom on Sunday means the Blues' top-four qualification hopes are in the balance.

    Thomas Tuchel's side face the prospect of high-pressure encounters against Leicester City, their weekend conquerors in the FA Cup final, and Aston Villa.

    "I don't know," Guardiola replied when asked whether the contrasting workload for his team would be an advantage or a disadvantage.  

    "I won't be in the locker room for Chelsea. I'm only concerned about what we have to do in these two games.

    "In these 10 or 12 days we will prepare these two games and the final as best as possible. I don't know if that is better or not."

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