Five things spotted in Manchester United training ahead of Atletico Madrid clash as trio return

Five things spotted in Manchester United training ahead of Atletico Madrid clash as trio return

Manchester United will be looking to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2018/19 when they face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their last-16 showdown on Tuesday evening.

After playing out a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Spain last month, it will be all to play for at Old Trafford in the second half of the tie. United got back to winning ways with a 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, meaning they will be looking to register a second successive victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo returned from injury with a bang, scoring a hat-trick, to inject some much-needed confidence into United veins ahead of the meeting with Atletico. The visit of the Spanish giants will mark United’s last fixture until April 2, meaning they will be hoping to head into an extended international break on a high.

In a bid to ensure they do just that, the players, as well as interim manager Ralf Rangnick, have been working hard at the club’s Carrington training base ahead of the tussle with Diego Simeone’s side. Below, MEN Sport has picked out four things that we spotted during Monday’s training session.

Trio train

United trio Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes all trained on Monday, handing Rangnick a huge boost ahead of naming his matchday squad. The trio all missed the win over Spurs, with Shaw and Fernandes both testing positive for Covid-19, whereas McTominay missed out with a calf problem.

Nevertheless, they all trained at Carrington with the rest of the first-team squad, meaning Rangnick should have a fully-fit squad to choose from. However, small question marks do remain over Shaw’s availability.

“As it is right now we have all of the players available for tomorrow, there is a small question mark behind Luke Shaw,” Rangnick said, speaking at Monday lunchtime. “He has been training yesterday [Sunday] and today but we have to wait and see if he is fully fit to be available for the game.

“All the other players are back in training and available for tomorrow.”

All three of them will be chomping at the bit to be involved and help United reach the last eight. Shaw and Fernandes started the reverse leg in Spain but McTominay missed out through illness.

Fred basks in the sunshine

Is summer finally on its way? After what has felt like an extended winter, warmer weather and lighter days are beginning to arrive.

And as the players made their way out onto the training pitches on Monday, Fred, who will no doubt be used to warmer conditions, given his Brazilian heritage, made the most of it. He was pictured looking up to the sky, with the sun beaming down, and saying what appeared to be a prayer.

He was outstanding against Spurs on Saturday and has become United’s unsung hero in recent weeks. He ought to be a certain starter against Atletico.

Fred made the very most of the sunny conditions.
Fred made the very most of the sunny conditions. (Image: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images.)

Mejbri involved

Although midfielder Hannibal Mejbri has not made a single first-team appearance for United this season, he continues to train with the first-team squad. He trained on Monday with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo but an opening has not yet arrived.

He has not played for the first team since the final day of last season and has only been named in the matchday squad four times since Rangnick took charge. However, his regular duties with his native Tunisia have impacted his Old Trafford chances.

“He will, from now on, regularly train with us and be a regular member of the squad,” Rangnick said last month. “I saw him play in the [Arab Cup] final and, from what I’ve seen so far, I think he’s a promising talent. He deserves to be part of the group for the rest of the season.”

Mee gets the call

Despite having David de Gea, Dean Henderson, Lee Grant and Tom Heaton all available for selection and fully fit, Rangnick has welcomed youngster Dermot Mee into the first-team training fold recently. He has been training with the senior stars to help aid his development, despite only being 19.

Again, on Monday, Mee was pictured making his way out onto the training pitches with Heaton and Fernandes. The opportunities will do little to harm the youngster’s development and it will offer Rangnick the chance to get a close look at a potential future star.

Dermot Mee (right) trained with the first-team on Monday.
Dermot Mee (right) trained with the first-team on Monday. (Image: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images.)

Mee, who joined United in 2019, has played twice for the Under-23s in the Premier League 2 this season. He also made two appearances in the Papa John’s Trophy, starting the tussles with Lincoln City and Sunderland.

High spirits

Amongst all of the images from the training session released, smiles and happy faces were not in short supply. United’s players were grinning from ear to ear as they put the hard yards in ahead of Atletico’s arrival in England.

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