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Man Utd backed to qualify for Champions League if one player hits top form in restart

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Manchester United currently sit fifth in the Premier League table as the season restarts this coming week.

 

Danny Murphy believes Marcus Rashford holds the key to Manchester United qualifying for next season’s Champions League or not. United weren’t expecting to have Rashford available to them for the end of the season prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

The England international was in excellent form before picking up a back injury in January.

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United did pick up a few key results in his absence, including two wins over Chelsea and rivals Manchester City.

It helped push them to within three points of Chelsea, who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.

But the suspension of football in England has allowed Rashford, as well as Paul Pogba, to fully recover from their respective injuries in time to be ready for the restart next week.

The Red Devils face a tough opening match against Tottenham, who will equally have their sights set on a Champions League spot.

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However, if Rashford is able to quickly rediscover his top form from the outset then Murphy backs United to claim a spot in Europe’s elite competition for next year.

“It will be great to see so many players back on the pitch after injury — Paul Pogba, Aymeric Laporte, Marcus Rashford, David Brooks, Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, John McGinn among them,” he wrote for the Daily Mail.

“Of those, Rashford is the one I am most excited to see and I believe could make the biggest difference.

“If he hits the form he showed before injuring his back in January, Manchester United can qualify for the Champions League.

“He was in the best form of his life.”

Premier League football in June and July will be a different experience for players though and Murphy thinks the hot weather will have some effect on certain teams.

“The weather will be warmer in June and July than during normal seasons.

“I tend to think that will work in favour of possession-based teams like Manchester City because it’s much harder to chase the ball when it’s 28 degrees Celsius.

“Conversely, it will also suit teams who defend deep and counter-attack.

“The weather didn’t affect my Fulham team because we conserved energy. Roy Hodgson is now manager at Crystal Palace and they play a similar way.

“Teams who like to press will have to recognise you can’t do it non-stop in baking heat. But managers like Jurgen Klopp are smart enough to adapt.

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“The way Liverpool have paced themselves this season is one of the reasons they are clear at the top.

“For very fit players, summer football won’t be a problem — but I feel for their opponents.

“Would you want to mark Jordan Henderson on a hot day? The conditions won’t stop him, we saw in the Russia World Cup that he is in phenomenal shape.”

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PICTURES: Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell join Chelsea training

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Chelsea returned to training today (Wednesday) at Cobham, and there were two new faces joining the rest of the squad, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell. The two summer arrivals had yet to train with the squad since signing, dealing with quarantine (presumably) and heel injury issues, respectively.

It’s unclear if either will be fit and ready for this weekend’s match against Liverpool, but it’s still nice to see them in training with the rest of the group! (Those who played on Monday apparently had a lighter session, but were all out there nonetheless.)

There’s no word on how close Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic may be. Ziyech is probably still a couple weeks out with his knee problem, at least, but Pulisic was supposed to be close before suffering a potential setback with his hamstring late last week. Neither were pictured in training, and one would assume their presence would get emphasized had they been there.

Pointing the way Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Pointing the way Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

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