Manchester United were given a double boost as Erik ten Hag hinted at the reason for their injury crisis

Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans could be fit for Manchester United’s trip to Chelsea as Erik ten Hag claimed he has an idea why his side are in an injury crisis.

Ten Hag said United were trying to find a way to deal with the prevalence of injuries this season, with Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof compounding their defensive problems when they were both out for at least a month.

The Dutchman hopes Varane, who was substituted as a precautionary measure in Saturday’s draw at Brentford, and Evans, who has missed the last two games, will return to fitness at Stamford Bridge.

He said: “At the front and in midfield we are doing well and we have options there, but defensively we lack options.” But the good thing is that Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans are back in training this afternoon. Harry Maguire was back in training yesterday.”

United have already had 53 different injuries or illnesses to senior players this season, so Ten Hag and United’s backroom staff are trying to work out the reasons why they have had so many problems.

“We have an idea, but we will work on it,” he added. “We will take care of it internally.”

United have played just 13 games in 2024 – an average of one a week – but Ten Hag blamed international football for some of their injury problems and pointed out that some of their rivals have lost just as many players.

Manchester United’s Raphael Varane in action with Brentford’s Ivan Toney


“You can’t prevent it,” he said. “It’s not just us who have experienced this. The standards of the Premier League are so high in terms of intensity, the congestion of the schedule and international football is so enormous.

“We have national players in our squad. (Manchester) City, Liverpool and Newcastle are struggling, many other teams. At the moment, the defensive department (which is injured), but also the midfielders and the front players are available.”

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