Manchester United have been training hard this week following their disappointing return to the Champions League.
United were back in Europe’s top competition on Tuesday, but fell to a shocking 2-1 defeat at BSC Young Boys, which has put a damper on the mood after Saturday’s euphoric 4-1 knockout of Newcastle United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær will look for an immediate response from him when they take on West Ham United on Sunday, a team whose own European experience was much more positive when they defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in their first ever Europa League match .
The manager has intensified preparations for the match this week and the players were reviewed their move at Carrington on Wednesday, with some familiar faces welcome back.
United have released photos and footage from the session, and here are six things we’ve seen:
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1 – Spirits remain high
Just days after the galvanizing victory over Newcastle, United fell to a striking defeat to the Young Boys in their opening match in the Champions League.
With tougher opposition Atalanta and Villarreal also in their group, United have already made life difficult for themselves in their goal of advancing to the knockout stages.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was sent off, and Jesse Lingard, who gave the ball away to the winner, were two players who made costly mistakes in the match, but both seemed undisturbed and focused on the next match.
Despite the defeat, the spirits seemed to stay high in training with lots of smiles on the show for United stars.
2 – Rashford on the recovery track
What can be a big moral boost for the squad is to see a few players on their way back from an injury.
Marcus Rashford still lacks a few weeks of rehabilitation after the shoulder surgery in the summer, but seeing him on the training ground can only bend his teammates. It appears that the attacker also participated in some exercises as he continues to intensify his recovery.
With so many attacking options for United right now, it will be interesting to see where the 23-year-old fits into the side when he is available again.
3 – Fred is working on delivery
Fred said in a recent interview that he is working hard on his retirement in training.
“I aim to improve and work a lot after training on my death,” he told Inside United. “Sometimes it’s about the midfield, things are more specific to my position.
“As I have said before, my goal is to get the ball forward, always to be ready to receive the ball from the central defenders, receive a pass and have the right body position to control it and find a good pass.
“I aim to improve in this area, it is the most important area to improve and develop in my position. I visualize this every day so I seem to improve the position on the court, an extra pass, turns during a game, that’s what I seem to work on every day. “
He delivers on that promise and was seen participating in passing drills during the session, which can certainly only benefit United.
4 – Telles is approaching return
Left-back Alex Telles has not been available all season after suffering an ankle injury during pre-season training camp in Surrey.
As a result, United have been completely dependent on Luke Shaw to play at left-back, with no alternative available to allow the English farmers to rest.
But fortunately, as the games now come thick and fast, the Brazilian has returned – with a new braided hairstyle – for full training to increase Solskjær’s defensive options.
He is not expected to be available at the weekend as he builds himself back to match fitness, but he put himself at great speed during a workout so he must not be too far away.
5 – Still have it
United coach Michael Carrick made up the numbers for one of the rondo drills and proved he still has it.
United great was known for his accurate passing during his playing days at Old Trafford and he certainly did not seem to miss a stroke while playing the game and moving the ball nicely to his teammates.
If he did not have a white coach top on, you would be forgiven for thinking he was actually a player.
6 – McTominay back on the field
Perhaps United’s biggest injury reinforcement is Scott McTominay’s return.
The midfielder has not played since the draw with Southampton in the second week of the season, as he had to go under the knife to solve a minor groin problem.
In his absence, United have lacked energy and driving in the middle of the park and his return cannot come fast enough.
But like Telles, he’s unlikely to get involved this weekend, but it’s definitely good news to see him back on the pitch.
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