Manchester United go up against Watford today hoping to make it three Premier League wins in a row. Ralf Rangnick’s side appear to have turned a corner of late, with the likes of Brighton and Leeds beaten before the respectable midweek draw with Atletico Madrid. And three players are up for demotion ahead of this afternoon’s contest at Old Trafford.
Manchester United lost 4-1 to Watford last time out.
That was a nightmare day at the office for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team, with the Norwegian losing his job in the aftermath of the match.
Now, as United gear up for the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, they seem to be getting some much-needed momentum as they look to salvage something from their season.
Victories over Brighton and Leeds were positive, boosting their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
And the draw with Atletico, a European giant and tricky outfit under Diego Simeone, was another step in the right direction.
Not everybody is convincing at United at the current moment in time, however.
So Express Sport will now take a look at three players who may be demoted to the bench having struggled against Atletico last time out.
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Fred has been better for United since Rangnick took charge.
Yet he was poor against Atletico, especially when compared to Nemanja Matic – who came off the bench during the match at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Matic, in stark contrast to Fred, brought some solidarity in the middle of the park.
His composure and experience was key as United battled to a draw, while he was better on the ball than his Brazilian team-mate.
Matic has been sparingly used by United this term yet, in the wake of his positive showing against Atletico, deserves a chance to start.
The former Chelsea and Benfica star is a proven warrior and Rangnick needs those as he looks to steer the club to a fourth-placed finish.
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When United allowed Marcus Rashford time off for shoulder surgery earlier in the campaign, they hoped he’d return better and improved.
Alas, that hasn’t been the case just yet.
An outstanding player though Rashford is, he’s struggled to make his mark ever since Rangnick took charge.
Anthony Elanga, whose goal gave United a draw against Atletico, is more-deserving of a starting berth at present.
Rashford has regressed this term and leaving him on the bench could be a way to motivate him as United look to finish the season strongly.
Rangnick pays Hodgson tribute
Speaking ahead of United’s match with Watford, Rangnick hailed Hornets counterpart Roy Hodgson by praising his longevity.
“Yes, I admire him for his energy,” he said.
“And it’s still a difference if you are a manger in England with that many games to play without a winter break, so I admire him for that.
“I’m not so sure if in my 70s I still want to be in charge as a head coach, no matter in which country, but this is what I admire him for.
“He’s a fantastic person, whenever I saw him in the past, whenever we spoke, it was always great fun to speak with him and he’s just a nice character.”
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