The fiery post-match clash which will have delighted Erik ten Hag

A debate of sorts between Fernandes and Casemiro occured afte the final whistle

By James Ducker at Old Trafford

As the final whistle sounded and the anti-Glazer chants subsided briefly to give way to lusty cheers to celebrate Manchester United taking another big step towards Champions League qualification, two players in red were busy reprising a familiar scene.

For all the cunning and running of Marcus Rashford upfront and the obduracy and composure of Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw in central defence, the tone throughout was set by Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes, and everyone else had to follow suit.

No one drives as high standards in United’s squad as that pair and there was another glimpse of that at the end when they became embroiled in a fiery exchange while others of a red persuasion were busy celebrating three crucial points against Aston Villa in the final push for a top four finish.

It evoked memories of a similar exchange on the Wembley turf after United’s Carabao Cup final triumph against Newcastle in February, when Casemiro took Fernandes to task for not squaring a pass at the death to Scott McTominay to score. On that occasion, things ended in wry smiles. This time around, there was a hug but both incidents spoke volumes for the demands they place on one another and the rest of the team and are the sort of thing manager Erik ten Hag loves to witness.

United’s best two midfielders were hugely influential against Villa, the Premier League’s most in-form team after Manchester City coming into this, in their contrasting ways. Casemiro knitted defence and attack, reading the game superbly while his long range passing was one reason why Ten Hag’s instruction for his team to play high, angled balls over the top of the opposition defence proved so effective. After a noticeable dip in performance level, a byproduct perhaps the disruption caused by multiple domestic suspension, this was a strong return to form for the Brazilian, who also hit the crossbar.

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester - AP Photo/Dave Thompson

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester – AP Photo/Dave Thompson

“I think that in every season you see nobody is always playing brilliantly,” Ten Hag said. “He played such a high level but some games with suspension his rhythm was broken and he had to get back. Today it was the Case we’ve seen all season. He brings so much organisation, composure, determination and his leadership is so important. Others go with him.”

Fernandes is principal among them. The Portugal midfielder’s relentlessness and hunger was encapsulated in that moment when he beat Alexandre Moreno to the ball to sweep home his 100th career league goal from a tight angle after Emiliano Martinez had pushed away Rashford’s shot. Before then, Villa fans had given Fernandes dog’s abuse so he seemed to be making a very deliberate point when he raced to the corner flag and stood proudly in front of the opposition supporters for what felt like an age, eye-balling every one of them.

“Obviously, they probably don’t like to play against me, but it is what it is,” said Fernandes, who has seven goals and eight appearances against Villa. “It’s football, I’m okay with that. They can enjoy the game in the way they want. I would prefer them to come and support their players, instead of focusing on me, but if they think it’s better to be focused on me than their own players then I don’t mind that at all.”

Eight weeks have passed since Fernandes faced calls to be stripped of the captaincy he has held for much of the season in the absence of the official club skipper, Harry Maguire, after the most petulant of displays in that 7-0 capitulation at Liverpool.

But his reaction since then has underlined not only Fernandes’ importance to Ten Hag but his strength of character and appetite to play. Most players would have come off after suffering the first half ankle injury that Fernandes sustained in the FA Cup semi-final win over Brighton a week ago. His foot had to be placed in a protective wrap and he was on crutches but he was back playing against Spurs in midweek and omnipresent again here.

“He’s so tough,” Ten Hag said. “A couple of weeks ago there were questions about his captaincy. It’s crazy. He’s such a big leader. He gives so much energy to the team. His determination, passion, resilience – we need such players if you want to win games and make trophies.”

Against a Villa team that had taken 26 points from the previous 30 in the league and an angry backdrop of fan protests calling for the Glazers to sell up, United produced their best 90 minute display for months. Fernandes and Casemiro were imperious but this was another encouraging display from Lindelof and Shaw in the absence of the injured Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. Lindelof has not always looked the bravest of defenders for United but he was robustness personified here, making a series of vital clearing headers, while Shaw again looked like he had spent much of his career playing at centre-half.

If United are to finish the job in the league, and overcome Manchester City in the FA Cup final to claim a second trophy this term, the form of those two will be as important as Casemiro and Fernandes continuing to hit the heights.

Table of Contents

Manchester United 1 Aston Villa 0, as it happened:

04:31 PM

Next up for these sides

Brighton away for Manchester United on Thursday evening.

Wolves away for Aston Villa on Saturday.

04:30 PM

Top eight, as it stands:

  1. Manchester City – 32 played – 76 points

  2. Arsenal – 33 played – 75 points

  3. Newcastle United – 33 played – 65 points

  4. Manchester United – 32 played – 63 points

  5. Tottenham – 33 played – 54 points

  6. Aston Villa – 34 played – 54 points

  7. Liverpool – 32 played – 53 points

  8. Brighton – 31 played – 52 points

04:18 PM

Fernandes’s finish

Bruno Fernandes scores for Manchester United - Getty Images/Matthew Peters

Bruno Fernandes scores for Manchester United – Getty Images/Matthew Peters

04:15 PM

Lindelof clearing off the line from Luiz‘s shot

Victor Lindelof - Getty Images/Simon Stacpoole

Victor Lindelof – Getty Images/Simon Stacpoole

04:01 PM

Full time: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Luiz sends the free kick in to the far post, it’s blocked, and then cleared.

Martinez is on the halfway line, he drops his face into his gloves in frustration. That first-half goal from Bruno Fernandes, coming from Martinez’s parry of Rashford’s shot, is the difference between the two sides this afternoon.

It’s three points for Manchester United, but they’ll want to see games like this out more comfortably. They’ll want to take opportunities when they’re dominating sides like Aston Villa. Unfortunately for Villa they couldn’t get back into it and it’s the first defeat in 11 for them in the league. United consolidate their position in the top four, nine points ahead of Spurs in fifth with six games left to play.

Erik ten Hag - Getty Images/Matthew Peters

Erik ten Hag – Getty Images/Matthew Peters

03:55 PM

90+4 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

A free kick for Aston Villa on the edge of the D in the dying embers. Malacia yellow card for a shirt tug on Traore. A decent opportunity to come for Villa – probably their last. Four Villa players are standing around it.

03:53 PM

90+3 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Antony goes one way and then the other, but the shot is straight at Martinez, very little power there in the end.

03:51 PM

90+2 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Man United are using a back five, but they’re very narrow, inviting the ball out wide.

03:49 PM

90 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Four minutes of added time to come.

03:48 PM

87 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

It’s a Villa front four against a United back five. Villa are pushing for the equaliser, but United look equal to it with this centre-back trio now in place.

03:45 PM

Double Man Utd sub

Off: Maguire, Martial.

On: Sabitzer, Rashford.

03:43 PM

80 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Watkins into the area, he has shot, but it’s blocked by De Gea before coming back to him for a second bite at the cherry. And now Lindelof heads it off the line!

It’s out to Traore, but De Gea charges out and smothers the Villa man. Great defending by the home side, but they’re living dangerously in these last 10 minutes.

03:40 PM

78 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Bruno Fernandes with a shot, but it’s straight at Martinez. The Villa keeper has done well there, almost hooking the ball back from where it came to prevent it from rolling into the path of the lurking Rashford.

03:38 PM

Two subs apiece

Álex Moreno, Buendía come off for Aston Villa, on go Digne and Durán.

Eriksen and Sancho come off for Man Utd, making way for Fred and Antony.

03:35 PM

Analysis from James Ducker

It’s been outstanding from United to this point. Pressed very aggressively, given Villa no time or space, created a lot of openings. Angled ball over the top remains a real threat. They haven’t got that second goal yet though and recent experiences suggest they still may need it.

03:34 PM

73 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Casemiro shoots from distance! Just wide of the left-hand post.

But in the build-up, Chambers puts in a clumsy tackle on Rashford, wrestling the England forward to the ground as he’s moving away from goal, inside the 18-yard box. Penalty shout?

Calum Chambers - PA/Martin Rickett

03:31 PM

71 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Traore tries to play in Buendia, but it’s well cut out by Malacia.

Rashford now on the ball, breaking, but he’s shepherded away from danger by Konsa. And back to Martinez. And it looked like the United forward handled in the build-up too.

03:29 PM

68 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Even when Villa have got the ball, they are not moving it particularly well. They’re making it pretty easy for Man Utd at the moment.

03:28 PM

A couple of changes for Aston Villa

03:25 PM

63 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Luiz corner from the left this time. It comes in, but is headed out by Man Utd.

United break, but they cannot capitalise. Sancho’s feet were great down the right-hand side. He puts Eriksen in who tries to find Rashford and Sabitzer in the box. It’s deflected back out to him and he shoots… but it’s well off the mark.

Jadon Sancho - Getty Images/Ash Donelon

Jadon Sancho – Getty Images/Ash Donelon

03:22 PM

59 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Ramsey with a shot on the edge of the D, but it’s deflected by Lindelof, a good block from the Swede.

McGinn linking up well with Buendia and Watkins in the build-up before Ramsey dispatches one.

A good corner follows, De Gea has to punch it. It comes to Buendia who takes a touch to line himself up for the shot, but Malacia dispossesses him and tries to break.

03:19 PM

57 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Martinez dives into the feet of Rashford to cut off the United forward. Bravery from Martinez, Rashford left his foot in on that – the Villa keeper nurses his hand.

Martinez save - AFP/Oli Scarff

Martinez save – AFP/Oli Scarff

03:17 PM

55 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Sancho charges up the left-wing, a good break here. He opts to chop it back onto his right foot and take the shot on, but it’s blocked. He would’ve done better to square it across to one of his team-mates at that point, but fancied himself.

03:15 PM

52 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Lindelof sends the ball into the crowd. The ball is sent in from a 40-yard free kick to Lindelof on the far post, but it takes an awkward bounce before he meets it and the Swede lashes it wide and over the crossbar.

03:11 PM

49 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Malacia gets way too tight and bundles into McGinn, on the edge of the penalty box. Clumsy there, and a dangerous position to concede a free kick from.

McGinn sweeps the ball to the edge of the D, to Luiz for a shot but it’s deflected out.

03:08 PM

47 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

A bit more energy and intensity from Villa in the opening moments of this second half. Villa have tried to get up and engage United a little bit higher up the pitch.

03:05 PM

Second half begins

No changes from either side. Manchester United are attacking the Stretford End now.

03:03 PM

James Ducker on Fernandes’ goal

Fernandes had copped for a fair bit of abuse from Villa fans and so after scoring he raced to the corner flag and stood still staring directly at the away support before placing his hand on the United crest. It was an impressive finish from a tight angle and he showed great speed and desire to get to the ball before Moreno. Rashford has caused Villa as manner of problems with his pace and movement.

Bruno Fernandes - AFP/Oli Scarff

03:01 PM

James Ducker’s half-time verdict

A well deserved first half lead for United. Villa struggling to deal with that long angled ball over the top. Rashford, Fernandes, Casemiro all to the fore. Malacia has been good at left back and Lindelof-Shaw have been composed in central defence.

02:51 PM

Half-time: Manchester United 0 Aston Villa 0

It is fair that Manchester United have the lead at half time. They have been well on top in the opening 45.

But Villa can be buoyed by the fact that United were a bit soft in the second half the other day against Spurs, and have looked shaky defending set pieces and crosses as of late with this make shift centre-back pairing of Shaw and Lindelof.

Bruno Fernandes goal - Getty Images/Matthew Peters

Bruno Fernandes goal – Getty Images/Matthew Peters

02:48 PM

45 mins: Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0

Fernandes with a shot from the edge of the area, it’s a bit of a shank and Martinez saves.

Big gaps between Villa’s defence and midfield.

02:45 PM

More from James Ducker at Old Trafford

“There’s only one Joel Glazer” sing the Villa fans. A contender for the lamest chant by opposition supporters at Old Trafford?

02:43 PM

GOAL! Man Utd 1 Aston Villa 0 (Bruno Fernandes, 40)

Bruno Fernandes!!!

Martinez kicks upfield, it’s a long ball, but it’s headed away and up to Rashford, beating the Villa offside trap. He steams forward and takes the shot early, with venom, it’s parried by the Villa keeper, but Fernandes gets there just before Moreno and fires it over Martinez and into the net. It looks like Moreno might have deflected that in, but Fernandes is claiming that.

Bruno Fernandes scores - Getty Images/Gareth Copley

Bruno Fernandes scores – Getty Images/Gareth Copley

02:38 PM

36 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Watkins is sent in, McGinn supporting with Ramsey, but it’s a good tackle from Malacia to claim the ball back. Luiz then tries to send one back in, but he’s dispossessed by Casemiro.

Villa just got on the press, Dalot missed his tackle and it’s a great recovery from Malacia.

Villa seemed to have stepped it up. Ramsey has got in again, chipping up Watkins who deploys an acrobatic scissor kick, but misses.

Ollie Watkins - Reuters/Molly Darlington

Ollie Watkins – Reuters/Molly Darlington

02:35 PM

34 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

United are claiming a handball as the ball comes off Young’s chest/arm area. It’ll be harsh if this is given.

02:34 PM

32 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Moreno swings the ball into the edge of the area for Villa, but United claim the ball and break, Rashford leading the charge. He tries to play Fernandes in, but Mings is there to mop up.

Villa are riding this Manchester United pressure quite well here.

02:31 PM

29 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Incisive ball through the middle by Eriksen, but no-one is there to latch onto it, leaving it to run all the way back to Martinez.

02:29 PM

26 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Shaw sends the ball up for Rashford, he charges forward to the edge of the area, but is brought down. No foul, says the ref.

United again go on the attack down the left via Sancho. It’s sent into the middle and Casemiro pulls the trigger, 12 yards out and rattles the crossbar! Bruno Fernandes tries to get there on the rebound, but can’t make anything of it.

02:24 PM

Thoughts from James Ducker on the opening 15 minutes

It’s been one way traffic for the first 15 minutes, with Villa under considerable pressure. The best chance fell to Rashford, whose forced a good save from Martinez at his near post. Sabitzer crashed a volley over the bar, too. Villa are having trouble dealing with long passes over the top, with Lindelof and Casemiro both kickstarting attacks like that.

02:22 PM

19 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Moreno’s shot blocked on the line! Corner to come.

Prior to this, Watkins tried to get in but he collided with Dalot. Michael Oliver on the Var says no penalty.

McGinn has a shot from the corner, but he fires wide. The best period of possession from Villa so far.

02:20 PM

17 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Eriksen tries to get forward on the left after patient build-up play around back, but he’s caught offside. Villa free kick.

02:16 PM

14 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Long ball over the top by Mings, towards Watkins, but he’s outmuscled by Lindelof and the ball is sent back to de Gea.

United put a longball in up the other end, feeding Fernandes is who sends a ball across, but can’t quite pick out Sabitzer.

02:14 PM

11 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Bruno Fernandes feeds in Rashford, who takes the shot on, five yards or so out, at a tight angle on the left-edge of the Villa box, but Martinez saves and pushes the ball out for a corner. Warning signs for Aston Villa.

Marcus Rashford shot - AFP/Oli Scarff

Marcus Rashford shot – AFP/Oli Scarff

02:10 PM

7 mins: Man Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

Rashford tries to beat the offside trap, the ball through the middle from Sabitzer, set up by Casemiro…

Rashford is through on goal and just fires wide of the right-hand post, but it would’nt have counted as the flag had gone up. Villa’s offside trap operating as intended.

02:08 PM

Protest latest from James Ducker at Old Trafford

Thousands of Manchester United fans have staged a protest before their side’s game against Aston Villa calling for the Glazer family to sell up and ship out.

Thirty six hours after United received third and final takeover bids for the club, an army of supporters took to the streets calling for the reviled American owners to leave the club.

Supporters marched from Deansgate in Manchester city centre to Old Trafford displaying banners and brandishing flares in yet another very visible show of the club’s desperation to see the back of the Glazers.

The entrances to the directors’ box, media lounge and executive suites in the Munich tunnel in Old Trafford’s south stand were closed with steel supporters as fans camped inside in protest.

The smoke was so thick that it billowed into Old Trafford and could be smelt in the press room and executive suites. Some fans planned to stay outside for 18 minutes in protest – one minute for each year the Glazers have been in charge – while other supporters chanted for the owners to go.

Banners carrying the messages “FULL $ALE ONLY”  and “Fight greed, Fight Glazers, Fight for United” were on display with the Glazers again left in little doubt they are not welcome by supporters.

Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is the only bidder offering to buy the whole club and complete a debt free takeover, which is the preference of many fans despite concerns over Qatar’s human rights record.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is offering to buy the Glazers’ 69 per cent shareholding in a deal that values the club higher than the Qatari offer but the Ineos founder has also made a proposal that would allow Joel and Avram Glazer, the co-chairmen, to retain a minority stake.

A number of US investment funds are offering to purchase a minority stake and provide financing.

Anti-Glazer protest - Reuters/Ed Sykes

Anti-Glazer protest – Reuters/Ed Sykes

02:05 PM

4 mins: Man Utd 0 Villa 0

No real chances yet. Man Utd in possession now, working it down the left-hand touchline… but the flag has gone up for offside, Emi Martinez to take from within his 18-yard box.

02:04 PM

2 mins: Man Utd 0 Villa 0

Villa with plenty of possession in the opening couple of minutes here.

Villa in their own half, trying to play it out of the back, before Casemiro comes crunching in and wins a throw-in for United, much to the delight of the crowd.

02:01 PM

Kick off!

And we’re under way at Old Trafford.

Jarred Gillett officiates this afternoon.

01:59 PM

Out come the players

Protests are ongoing outside the stadium. A reminder of the teams this afternoon:

Man Utd: de Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Shaw, Malacia, Casemiro, Eriksen, Sancho, Sabitzer, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford.

Subs: Maguire, Martial, Fred, Antony, Weghorst, Pellistri, Wan-Bissaka, Butland, Williams.

Aston Villa: Martinez, Ashley Young, Konsa, Mings, Alex Moreno, Dendoncker, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Buendia, Ramsey, Watkins.

Subs: Diego Carlos, Traore, Chambers, Duran, Olsen, Digne, Revan, O’Reilly, Kaden Young.

Players emerge - Getty Images/Gareth Copley

Players emerge – Getty Images/Gareth Copley

01:55 PM

Villa have climbed to sixth after a 10-game unbeaten run that has seen them collect 26 points

But they have a tough run-in with games against fellow European hopefuls Tottenham, Liverpool and Brighton.

Villa manager Unai Emery said:

I like to play matches like we are playing now.

We have to be very focused. I like to play under pressure because, for me, it’s not negative pressure, it’s positive pressure.

I’m not thinking ‘if I will win’ or ‘if I will lose’. I’m thinking, ‘I want to play’, because in this moment we are really playing for something important.

01:49 PM

Warm ups

Bruno Fernandes - Reuters/Molly Darlington

Bruno Fernandes – Reuters/Molly Darlington

Marcel Sabitzer - Reuters/Molly Darlington

Marcel Sabitzer – Reuters/Molly Darlington

01:45 PM

Aston Villa are in sixth going into this afternoon’s match at Old Trafford

Unai Emery was the man who joined a relegation battle at Aston Villa and turned it into a fight for the European places, which makes him the most successful appointment of this Premier League season of managerial blood-letting.

A 10-game unbeaten run in the Premier League reaches a pivotal moment at Old Trafford on Sunday where Villa may go fifth should they win. The first game of the Emery reign in early November was his new club’s first win over United in the league at Villa Park since 1995. The form since the end of February has been revelatory: eight wins, two draws. Even so, some way to equal his best run in English football. At Arsenal he went 22 games unbeaten in all competitions from the end of August to mid-December 2018, 14 of which were in the Premier League.

Read Sam Wallace’s latest column on Emery’s strong start at Aston Villa and why he is a different manager to the one we thought we knew at Arsenal.

01:38 PM

More from the anti-Glazer protests

Anti-Glazer protests - Reuters/Ed Sykes

Anti-Glazer protests – Reuters/Ed Sykes

Anti-Glazer protests 2 - Reuters/Ed Sykes

Anti-Glazer protests 2 – Reuters/Ed Sykes

Anti-Glazer protests 3 - Reuters/Ed Sykes

Anti-Glazer protests 3 – Reuters/Ed Sykes

01:31 PM

The latest on the Manchester United sale

The battle for control at Manchester United has taken another twist with Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos thought to have valued the club higher than their main Qatari rivals.

Third and final bids for United were submitted before Friday’s 10pm deadline as a six month saga edges closer to a conclusion.

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, the chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank and son of the former Qatar Prime Minister, has been the favourite to land the club.

But it emerged on Saturday that Ineos were the only bidder to have valued the club above £5 billion and that their proposal equates to more than the offer presented by Qatar.

Sheikh Jassim is the only bidder offering to buy 100 per cent of the club and a debt free takeover.

Ineos want to purchase the Glazers’ 69 per cent shareholding but are also understood to have made a proposal that would see them take a controlling stake but allow Joel and Avram Glazer, the co-chairmen, to remain as minority shareholders.

Read more from James Ducker and Tom Morgan here.

01:22 PM

Erik ten Hag makes two alterations; Aston Villa are unchanged

Tyrell Malacia comes in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcel Sabitzer replaces Antony following Thursday’s 2-2 draw at Tottenham. Harry Maguire returns to the bench after injury.

Erik ten Hag - Getty Images/Ash Donelon

Erik ten Hag – Getty Images/Ash Donelon

01:10 PM

Team news: Fernandes starts off right, Villa unchanged

12:37 PM

Anti-Glazer protests under way around Old Trafford

Manchester United fans protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club - Reuters/Ed Sykes

Manchester United fans protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club – Reuters/Ed Sykes

Manchester United fans protest against the Glazer family’s ownership - Reuters/Ed Sykes

Manchester United fans protest against the Glazer family’s ownership – Reuters/Ed Sykes

Manchester United fans protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club outside the stadium - Reuters/Ed Sykes

Manchester United fans protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club outside the stadium – Reuters/Ed Sykes

12:35 PM

Manchester United liming towards top four finish

Manchester United remain in a strong position to secure Champions League qualification, but they are not exactly sprinting to the finish line as injuries and cup exertions start to bite.

One of the teams who could take advantage are Aston Villa, who will move within three points of United in fourth if they win at Old Trafford this afternoon, albeit they would have played two more games.

Aside from Manchester City, Unai Emery’s Villa are the form team in the league and in the thick of the race for the European places. Villa have won eight and drawn two of their last 10 Premier League games, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. Emery’s team have not conceded more than once in a match since their defeat to Arsenal in February. Ollie Watkins has been on fire up front with Emi Buendia thriving in the absence of Philippe Coutinho.

Emery has won two and drawn two of his four Premier League meetings with Manchester United. It’s the most any manager has faced the Red Devils without ever losing, and he could well reprise the 6-2-2 defensive shape that has made Villa difficult to break down in big games.

United are still without first-choice centre-backs Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane due to injury, and they looked leggy in a second-half at Tottenham which saw them concede a two-goal lead. There were promising signs in attack though, with Jadon Sancho scoring a timely goal and Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford proving as threatening as ever. Erik ten Hag criticised his players for trying to coast through that game. It would take something of a collapse for United to miss out on a top four place, but they could do without dropping points today with trips to Brighton and West Ham to follow.

Full team news on the way shortly.

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