Man Utd V Watford at Old Trafford : Match Preview

01 March 2016 06:34
Man Utd V Watford - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian could return for Man United

Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian could make their returns in Manchester United's Barclays Premier League clash with Watford.

A glum mood around Old Trafford has been lifted by three wins in the space of a week, despite being hampered by a lengthy injury list.

Those problems could be partly alleviated when Watford visit on Wednesday, though, with Louis van Gaal revealing Martial, Smalling and Darmian could return.

"(Marouane) Fellaini and (Antonio) Valencia are the first ones to come back, I think, except of course Martial, Smalling and Darmian," the Dutchman said.

"They are coming back and may be ready tomorrow - it depends on how they feel tomorrow.

"But the chance is there that one of these three players (can) already play, but Fellaini shall come in the last step to the process of team training.

"And also Valencia, for the first time today has trained with the group, so they are coming back. (Wayne) Rooney is still in a brace."

Martial's return would raise a welcome selection headache for Van Gaal, given the remarkable manner Marcus Rashford has burst onto the scene.

Thrown into the starting line-up against FC Midtjylland after the French striker felt a hamstring problem before last week's Europa League tie, the 18-year-old blossomed under the Old Trafford floodlights.

Rashford netted a crucial brace in that 5-1 win and continued his extraordinary start to life in the Untied first-team with another double in Sunday's 3-2 win against title-chasing Arsenal.

"First, I think that the media have to let him in peace and rest," Van Gaal said of the teenager.

"When you are in front of his house and that kind of stuff, I don't think that is beneficial for a boy of 18 years old.

"Give him the time also to be 18 years and we shall guide him also in that way, but he is a very modest guy so I don't think that shall be the problem .

"But of course when you have so much attention of the media, it can go in another way, but I believe that he shall keep his feet on the ground."

Quique Sanchez Flores has urged his Watford players not to fall into the trap of taking United's injury-hit team lightly as Van Gaal blooded a number of academy graduates.

Indeed defender Tim Fosu-Mensah and midfielder James Weir were the latest to be handed their debuts against Arsenal.

Watford head to Old Trafford to face Van Gaal's patched-up side on Wednesday, but Flores does not believe United's star-studded treatment room makes them any easier a proposition.

"I don't like to say to the players, 'come on boys, now Manchester United are a little bit weak because they have injuries, because they are younger, because they don't have experience', no, it is the opposite," said Flores.

"I try to send other messages to the players, saying take care and don't relax. Yes, they are younger, but they have a lot of passion, and they want to show everyone they are ready to play in the Premier League.

"So, of course we will play a very tough match, and this is the idea we try to translate to the players. Maybe this is not the best XI they have in the squad, but they are playing really, really well."

Flores admitted he likes Rashford's style and warned his side to be wary of United's strength, adding: "He looks really good and I love younger players. I love how he moves to the space and how he moves inside the box.

"He is a very good talent for the future of England and very good news for Manchester United.

"With the younger players when they knock on the door, as a coach you need to open the door and say 'okay you are ready to go' and this is what has happened.

"Manchester United have had a lot of injuries, a very difficult period for them, and this is the moment when the younger players use the opportunity to establish themselves in the team."

Source: PAR