Ralf Rangnick has offered an update on Edinson Cavani’s fitness ahead of Manchester United’s trip to the Etihad Stadium.
The German said at his pre-match press conference that the towering hitman is expected to be fit for the Manchester derby.
And he has given further detail in an interview with club media, saying that Cavani is not ready to start the game and will likely be a substitute.
He said that Scott McTominay is more likely to be a starter against Manchester City, and also shared some details of the illness which has kept him out of action.
“Well, it’s good to have him back,” said Rangnick of Cavani.
“We have one more alternative in a central attacking position but he has been out for three weeks. That’s also something we have to bear in mind. I don’t think he could play for more than, I don’t know, half an hour.
“He’s ready for that, for coming on as a sub but I don’t think he can be in contention to start that game.”
On McTominay, he said: “[It’s] Important to have him available. He’s been training the whole week. He’s been out one week only but he was really seriously ill and lost some weight.
“I think he could be in contention for the starting XI but I will decide on that tomorrow [Saturday] after the last training session.”
Rangnick made his admiration for Cavani clear in January, when he described him as a ‘perfect role model’ for some of the younger players in the squad.
His absence has been frustrating during a period when United have struggled to convert their chances and come up short when chasing certain games.
It is important that he can stay fit and what a way to return it would be if he could come off the bench to score the winner in the derby.
McTominay’s return is also pivotal and derbies are the kinds of games he relishes, where his physicality and energy in midfield are needed.