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Erik ten Hag handed timely boost as two Man Utd stars are suspended vs Barcelona

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been handed a timely boost with Casemiro available to face Barcelona in the first leg of the Europa League knockout play-off on Thursday.

The Red Devils take on the Blaugrana at Camp Nou in two days’ time and ahead of the game, they are set to be without several key players including Lisandro Martinez.

Martinez picked up three yellow cards in the group stage of the Europa League. As a result, the Argentine will serve a one-game suspension against the Catalan giants.

Alongside him, Marcel Sabitzer is another player that is suspended. The Austrian had three yellow card offences for Bayern Munich in the Champions League group phase.

His automatic one-game European ban will be carried over to the Europa League. Hence, the January signing won’t feature against Barcelona in the midweek showdown.

The absence of Martinez and Sabitzer is a huge blow for United, but Ten Hag has received a timely boost from the fact that Casemiro will be available for selection again.

The Red Devils are currently short in midfield with Sabitzer obviously suspended while Scott McTominay, Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are nursing injuries.

However, Casemiro, who is still serving a domestic suspension, will be available to be picked on Thursday and he looks set to partner Fred in the centre of the park.

Casemiro needs no introduction to the Blaugrana with his feisty encounters against them with Real Madrid in the past and he will be highly motivated in midweek.

The Brazilian has been a huge influence for United since becoming a regular starter in October. His ability to win regular duels has provided the club with defensive solidity.

He will have a big role to play against Frenkie de Jong and Pedri. United have to win the midfield battle on Thursday to come up with a positive result from Camp Nou.

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