Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been handed a welcome boost ahead of a crunch tie with Watford on Saturday afternoon. With many of the matchday squad already spotted, Scott McTominay was among those included after coming down with a virus while away on international duty.
A high-stakes showdown at Vicarage Road could go some way towards Solskjaer shrugging off his doubters – a group which has grown significantly in recent weeks.
Big names have been linked with Solskjaer’s job over the past two weeks, although Brendan Rodgers took some of the pressure off when he committed his future to Leicester during a recent press conference.
Nonetheless, the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino are still in the mix, and Solskjaer knows that a result is needed now more than ever.
Having a player like McTominay to call on will be a welcome bonus, given his expected absence after coming down with a throat virus on Scotland duty.
“Tough one to take not being available to help the boys this past week through not being well but I’ve recovered well and just want to wish the squad the best of luck for tonight,” McTominay said earlier in the week.
The midfielder has appeared in nine Premier League games this season, and although he and Fred have been singled out for criticism at times, United would otherwise have been left thin on the ground.
That is partly thanks to the thigh injury sustained by Paul Pogba on France duty, which could see him side-lined for up to three months.
Also pictured at Manchester Airport was Alex Telles, Fred and Diogo Dalot, alongside David De Gea.
The Spaniard has been in the news this week, not for his own actions, but due to speculation surrounding the future of his current back-up, Dean Henderson.
The Englishman enjoyed a run in the team at De Gea’s expense last campaign, but with opportunities few and far between this time around, an exit could soon be on the cards.
Still, the Spaniard’s heroics may well be called upon on Saturday, unless Solskjaer can turn the Red Devils’ fortunes around with a convincing victory.
“We’ve been through periods like this before,” admitted the 48-year-old on Friday.
“Our away form, we’ve just gone 30-odd games and lost one. Last season we turned it around and went on a run of 20-odd games and one defeat, that’s the kind of run we need to get back.
“This week we’ve prioritised a few things we have to improve on.Form and performances haven’t been good enough.
“We can do better, should do better and it’s down to performances on the day, human beings, sometimes you hit the post and it goes out, sometimes it goes in, that can affect the mood, atmosphere. We’ve got to focus on getting the start right.”