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Man Utd’s Maguire in race to be fit for Europa League final

London (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United are doing all they can to get captain Harry Maguire back from his ankle injury in time for the Europa League final against Villarreal later this month.

Solskjaer said the central defender was unlikely to play in any of United’s three remaining league games after suffering ligament damage in Sunday’s win against Aston Villa.

Maguire, 28, watched Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat against former club Leicester from the stands — it was the first Premier League match he had missed for United since joining in 2019.

“The good news is it (the ankle) wasn’t broken, there was no fracture, but a ligament injury, of course, is serious as well,” Solskjaer said following the game, which boosted Leicester’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

“If I’m very positive (of him making the Europa League final)… that’s maybe stretching it, I’m hopeful he might be ready for it.

“I don’t think he’ll play in the league again before it but we’ll do everything we can to get him ready for the final.”

The final is being held in the Polish city of Gdansk on May 26, with United, already guaranteed to finish in the top four of the Premier League, looking for their first silverware since 2017.

Solskjaer reassured England manager Gareth Southgate that he would not rush Maguire back too early, with the delayed Euro 2020 tournament starting next month.

“You always try to look after players long-term,” said the Norwegian. If he’s fit, he’ll play for us. If he’s not, he won’t.

“But, as I said, we’re hopeful that he’s ready and if he’s ready for us, he’ll probably be ready for the Euros.”

Solskjaer’s side have a crammed schedule this week — the match with deposed champions Liverpool on Thursday will be their fourth in the space of eight days.

The United boss made 10 changes for the Leicester game — Mason Greenwood was the only player who started both matches — and said there would be changes for the Liverpool fixture.

The match was rearranged following a fan invasion of Old Trafford on May 2, with supporters expressing their anger at US owners the Glazers over the club’s involvement in the short-lived European Super League proposal.

Another demonstration is scheduled for Thursday, when United can all but end Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the top four.

Asked if he was braced for any reaction, given his changes against Leicester dented Liverpool’s Champions League hopes, Solskjaer said: “My job is for Man United and my concern is the Man United fans — what they think about my team, what they want from my team and that we come together as one and show what Man United is.”

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