Erik ten Hag will see the majority of his first-team squad depart for the tournament, but there is one final hurdle before that happens, with United making the trip to face Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Cristiano Ronaldo has started the last two Premier League games but missed the 4-2 win over Aston Villa earlier this week due to illness. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game against Fulham, Ten Hag provided an update on his condition and was optimistic the 37-year-old would be available.
“I can’t guarantee that [Cristiano will be available] now, but today he was sick,” Ten Hag is quoted as per the official Manchester United website.
“He can recover from it, it’s not really a serious illness that takes days or weeks, so I think it’s possible he’ll be available for Sunday and he’ll be in the squad.”
Young winger Antony also missed the game against Fulham and has been on the sidelines since the 3-0 win over FC Sheriff in the Europa League.
The former Ajax star was named in Brazil’s World Cup squad earlier this week and could make his return to United this weekend, but he will be assessed first.
“In one hour we have training so we will do normal things but we have to see,” Ten Hag continued.
“I don’t think any big problems from yesterday’s game, but we have to see how players recover from illness, like Cristiano, [and] from an injury, like Antony.
“Yesterday Anthony Martial played his first minutes from the start after Everton, so we have to see how he recovers. So we have some problems and some questions [to see] how we act and what plan we take.”
With the five-week break from club football, it is vital that United end this part of the season on a high and secure three points.
The nature of United’s 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa last week really dented the positive mood, but with opponents in similar positions also dropping points, it didn’t set Ten Hag’s men back.
Fulham have exceeded all expectations this season and it will be a tough test for the Reds, but ending the first half of the season with a win is extremely important.