Mick McCarthy says Shane Long is “back where we need him to be” to stake a claim for a place on the plane to Slovakia, while the manager is prepared to give Ciaran Clark and James McClean as long as he can to see if they are able to recover from injury in time for Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off on March 26.
IT said it all about the predicament in which Manchester United find themselves that their 2-0 defeat to Burnley at Old Trafford on Wednesday night felt like a huge deal for the visitors but, in a very strange way, just more of the same for those home supporters who clogged the exits with ten minutes still to play.
Get your thinking cap on. Can you remember a more negative build-up to any United game in your life? I can’t. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anyone sensible who thought the result would be anything other than a defeat. Pressed for a further opinion, most of the lads I know offered various estimates of the size of the new bodily aperture we would be acquiring — “be it torn, punched, or drilled,” helpfully expanded a colleague.
May I be the amongst the first to prematurely wish you a happy New Year? All the happier for United’s win at Burnley on Saturday night, of course, which left us occupying the dizzying heights of fifth place.
Troy Parrott was handed his Premier League debut — and the match ball — by Jose Mourinho at the end of Tottenham’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley, and could replace Harry Kane in their Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.