Manchester United have confirmed a fresh injury blow for Raphael Varane ahead of their Premier League clash against arch-rivals Manchester City this weekend.
The France international recently returned from a groin problem against Tottenham Hotspur, where the Red Devils secured a comfortable 3-0 league triumph.
He started the next game against Atalanta in the Champions League but was substituted before the half-time interval after picking up a hamstring injury.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was concerned over the setback and United have now officially confirmed that the central defender will be out of action for around a month.
“The club confirms that Raphael sustained a hamstring injury, which is expected to keep him out of action for around a month,” a statement from the club’s official website read.
Varane played at the heart of a three-man central defence at Spurs last weekend.
The £63 million-rated star produced an assured performance as United ended their four-match winless league streak.
His absence is a big blow for the Red Devils as they face one of their toughest challenges of the season.
They are already eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea and can’t afford to lose further ground.
Victor Lindelof could make his comeback after a minor injury which should be of some relief.
Solskjaer may stick with a three-man backline, though it failed to work out early on against Atalanta.
With the lack of regular high pressing, Atalanta had no trouble making advancing runs into the final third.
There needs to be a drastic improvement from United tomorrow.
Eric Bailly stood out defensively with key interceptions on Tuesday night, but the Ivorian is prone to the occasional error. He was caught out of position for Duvan Zapata’s goal.
United have had the edge of City in the league recently with a four-match unbeaten run.
They have won three of those meetings but need to show better defensive resolve on Saturday.
They have kept just one clean sheet from 12 matches. Cristiano Ronaldo has saved their blushes recently in Europe, and the Portuguese may have a big say on the Manchester derby.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and 11v11.com.
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