Erik ten Hag issues Manchester United injury update ahead of Everton clash and makes 'nasty' claim
Erik ten Hag's Manchester United take on Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Sunday
Erik ten Hag believes it is 'difficult to say' if Raphael Varane will be available for Manchester United against Everton this weekend.
Varane picked up an ankle injury during United’s 6-3 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad last Sunday. The centre-back then missed his side's 3-2 Europa League win over Omonia Nicosia last night.
United opted to remain in Cyprus and train there on Friday, and speaking after his side’s win over Neil Lennon’s men, Ten Hag offered a squad injury update and believes a late fitness test will determine whether the Frenchman makes Sunday’s game at Goodison Park.
"Difficult to say. Varane made progress and I hope he is available but I think it will be close,” Ten Hag said. "From the other players, Harry Maguire not, then it's Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek, both not."
Van de Beek spent the second half of last season on loan at Everton after enduring a frustrating time at Old Trafford under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. And although Ten Hag admits the former Ajax man will get chances to revive his United career, he won’t feature against his former club on Sunday due to injury.
He said: "He had a muscle injury. So it takes a couple of weeks. He's now back on the training grass, so he's outside doing his work but still individual, he's not returning to team training. So we have to wait for that moment.
"He has to be fit. Obviously, that is his disadvantage. He is now for two-and-a-half years here. He had a pre-season that was quite okay and his chances will come.
"When he came on against Brighton as a sub he did very well but you have to be available. And if you are not available you cannot get a place in the first XI and so now he has to make sure he gets fit and fights for his position."
The Old Trafford chief also joked his side were 'nasty' and appeared to take aim at Premier League referees for being too quick to caution members of his squad. United have picked up 27 bookings so far this season.
Yeah, I know nasty, I know what it is. In that manner, we can progress, sometimes also play a little bit smarter,” he replied when asked about the number of bookings his side have received so far this season.
"Like we have too many bookings and some in the start of Premier League, they play tough but I wonder why we collect so many bookings and I don't understand.
Like the first booking on Sunday, I really don't understand. We want to play tough, we want to keep the game going and then in the second minute already it's a booking for Diogo.
“Clear, it was a foul but to then get booked? Also, I saw many other bookings where I think, 'is that necessary?' But also take it to the players, I have to keep the reminder to play smart but they have to play nasty as well."