Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion; Premier League; Old Trafford; Sunday, 11th March; 1400 KO.
Rio Ferdinand is expected to return after sitting on the bench against Bilbao in the Europa League. Rafael’s late error could cost him a place.
Chris Smalling is a doubt after suffering a head injury in midweek, whilst Tom Cleverley is on the verge of a senior return. Anders Lindegaard, Michael Owen and Nemanja Vidic are also close to the first team fold.
Steven Reid is set to miss out for the Baggies after suffering an ankle injury against Chelsea, and likely replacement Billy Jones faces a fitness test before the match.
Club captain Chris Brunt could start his first game in over two months after returning to training, whilst Jerome Thomas is a doubt with a hamstring problem.
De Gea demands defensive improvement
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has fired a warning to his defensive teammates after Thursday night’s disappointing defeat to Athletic Bilbao.
The Red Devils face an uphill challenge in the Europa League after the 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford, with the Spanish stopper undoubtedly the home side’s man of the match against an impressive La Liga outfit.
With little time to dwell on the defeat, De Gea & Co must turn their attentions to the challenge of the Baggies, but the young keeper has told his colleagues to wake-up quickly.
“For the third Athletic goal, the one Muniain scored, the defence was asleep. Rafael had fallen asleep,” said De Gea.
“Some of my team-mates were a bit sleepy at Old Trafford. We played really badly and Athletic that will beat you if you make it easy for them. We expected Athletic to be very strong and they were. We’ll go to the San Mames Stadium to give it another go. Athletic Bilbao are probably the best team to visit our stadium this season.”
Sir Alex Ferguson was left to agree his young stopper, and will look to add experience to the future European challenge without disrupting the Premier League schedule as they challenge for the title.
“Our defending really wasn’t very good at all, and that kept us on the back foot. But it was a really open, entertaining game, and our attacking play was good at times,” said the Scot.
“They were the better team on the night, but we can win the game over there, no question about it. We showed we can create chances against them, but we are going to have to defend a lot better. That goes without saying.
"I am going to have to look at ways of possibly bringing Rio Ferdinand back in. He is so important to us, in terms of experience at the back, so I will have to see if that can be done, without disrupting things in the Premier League.”
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