Man Utd’s nightmare six-game run that Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire are set to miss

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Manchester United are facing the nightmare scenario of being left without their key defensive pairing for a difficult six-game run. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to call in reinforcements after it emerged both Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire will be sidelined with injuries.

Varane has been ever-present in the Premier League since making his debut in the victory over Wolves in September.

The £42m signing from Real Madrid has settled in quickly to his new surroundings and formed a solid partnership with Maguire.

But the 28-year-old limped out of France’s Nations League final triumph against Spain on Sunday night, causing concern for medical staff at Carrington.

Varane returned to Man United on Tuesday for further examination of the injury and it has now been confirmed that he will be out of action with a groin injury.

A club statement read: “Raphael Varane sustained a groin muscle injury in the UEFA Nations League final and has commenced rehabilitation at the club.

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“He will be out for a few weeks.”

Solskjaer has been dealt a double blow with the news that his captain Maguire will also be absent from the squad.

The centre-back was left out of the England squad as he is recovering from a calf problem and is a doubt for United’s next run of games once the international period ends.

The Red Devils face a tough trip to the King Power Stadium on Saturday before hosting Atalanta in midweek in a must-win Champions League fixture.

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But the Norwegian boss will be without Varane and likely Maguire too, forcing the 48-year-old into some difficult decisions at the back.

Solskjaer has two able deputies in Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof but doubts over Bailly’s form, combined with his late return from international duty with Ivory Coast, could see Solskjaer move to another plan.

Phil Jones may be on standby as a reserve, with the 29-year-old making a full recovery from a knee injury sustained in January 2020.

But the United boss has never been afraid to deploy Scott McTominay as an emergency defender when he has previously had to deal with a defensive crisis.

But the Norwegian boss will be without Varane and likely Maguire too, forcing the 48-year-old into some difficult decisions at the back.

Solskjaer has two able deputies in Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof but doubts over Bailly’s form, combined with his late return from international duty with Ivory Coast, could see Solskjaer move to another plan.

Phil Jones may be on standby as a reserve, with the 29-year-old making a full recovery from a knee injury sustained in January 2020.

But the United boss has never been afraid to deploy Scott McTominay as an emergency defender when he has previously had to deal with a defensive crisis.

And with the several players able to fill in the Scotland international’s usual position in midfield, he could deputise longside Lindelof while Maguire is sidelined.

United have been in decent form in the Premier League, taking 14 points from their first seven games.

However, defeats in the Carabao Cup to West Ham and Champions League to Young Boys have raised doubts over Solskjaer’s long-term future at the club.

Now facing their most difficult run of the season without his favoured defensive pairing available, Solskjaer may find himself under pressure if results do not go his way.

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