Striker Højlund of Man United is out with a muscular damage

Feb 25, 2024

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LONDON, England – Rasmus Højlund of Manchester United is expected to miss the derby against Manchester City due to a muscular issue that might keep him out for up to three weeks.

The absence of key player Højlund, who has been in a remarkable goal-scoring form with six goals in his previous six outings, is a significant setback for Ajax. The 21-year-old may miss up to five crucial games, beginning with the upcoming match against Fulham at Old Trafford. The timing of the injury also raises doubts about his availability for the highly anticipated March 3 clash at Etihad Stadium against City.

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag provided insights into the nature of Højlund’s injury during a press conference, describing it as a small setback that could keep him sidelined for two to three weeks. While the injury is not deemed serious, it underscores the challenges associated with the rigorous demands of training and competing at a high level. Ten Hag expressed the need for caution and patience in the recovery process, emphasizing that even minor injuries demand a period of rest and rehabilitation. The temporary absence of Højlund presents a tactical challenge for Ten Hag as he navigates through a series of important fixtures, emphasizing the team’s depth and adaptability to cope with such setbacks.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is currently grappling with a series of challenges as several key players, including Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martínez, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, and now Højlund, are unavailable due to injuries. The absence of recognized strikers and a left-back has left the team in a precarious position, especially as they strive to secure a spot in the highly competitive Champions League. Currently sitting in the sixth position in the standings, Ajax is five points behind fourth-place Aston Villa.

Ten Hag, while acknowledging the impact of injuries, emphasized that it’s a challenge many clubs face, asserting that how they deal with it becomes crucial. Despite the setbacks, the coach expressed confidence in his squad’s ability to navigate through the adversity, pointing out that the depth of the squad is a determining factor.

The team’s plight is further highlighted by their pursuit of a Champions League spot, a task made more daunting without key players available. The absence of a recognized striker and left-back compounds the challenges, making each game crucial in their quest to climb the standings.

In a positive development for the club, United recently announced that the agreement with Sir Jim Ratcliffe to become a minority owner has been fulfilled. The 71-year-old British billionaire’s involvement is seen as a step towards reviving Old Trafford’s fortunes. Ten Hag acknowledged ongoing discussions with Ratcliffe, emphasizing their shared vision for the club’s future. The coach spoke about his conversations with Ratcliffe and Dave Brailsford, expressing alignment in their goals for the team and the club’s overall structure.

Ten Hag revealed that part of Ratcliffe’s aspirations is to see him continue as the manager into the summer. This aligns well with the coach’s own ambitions, and after 19 months in charge, he sees positive signs of progress. Despite setbacks in the second season, Ten Hag highlighted the team’s development and the collective effort on the training pitch and during games.

As Ajax faces the challenges of injuries and seeks to secure a spot in the Champions League, the collaboration with Ratcliffe and the shared vision for the club’s future offer a glimmer of hope. Ten Hag remains optimistic about the team’s trajectory, emphasizing the hard work and dedication displayed by the players. The road ahead may be challenging, but with strategic planning and a united effort, Ajax aims to overcome the obstacles and continue their journey towards success.

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