Paul Scholes has warned that Harry Maguire’s performance levels without Raphael Varane have to be a cause for concern ahead of Manchester United’s derby against Manchester City.
The Red Devils suffered another injury blow for their summer signing during their 2-2 draw with Atalanta. The Serie A side twice led in Tuesday’s Champions League clash, but Cristiano Ronaldo replied twice.
While Ronaldo’s impact has never been a concern since his Man Utd return, the club have a fresh worry about Varane.
The centre-back, who recently missed three matches with a knock, suffered a hamstring injury in Italy.
He missed what turned out to be a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool last time. He will now miss Saturday’s crunch Premier League clash against City at Old Trafford.
According to Scholes, Varane’s centre-back partner Maguire has looked solid when in that pairing. However, he now fears having to watch Saturday’s game.
“They played alright Saturday [against Tottenham], but tonight it was messy,” the pundit told BT Sport.
“As soon as Varane went off it went all over the place, really shaky. Quality in the middle of the pitch wasn’t great, giving the ball away.
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“Maguire just doesn’t look right and I don’t want to say it again, with no Varane, Saturday has to be a worry.”
Despite Scholes making a similar prediction to when he claimed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would be “rubbing his hands together” at United’s previous clash with Atalanta, he offered another perspective.
“If you’re Pep [Guardiola] you’d think you have a good chance to win. City think that anyway at any point it’ll be a difficult game but with no Varane it’s going to be more difficult,” Scholes said.
“But saying that they have the quality to score. Even in the Liverpool game they produced three clear chances. United need to defend and concentration is key.”
Solskjaer talks Varane, Man Utd injury
Speaking after the match, Solskjaer confirmed the diagnosis for Varane.
“Varane felt his hamstring and you can’t take any risks,” the manager said. “He’s been such a calming influence for us and it’s a shame. The quality wasn’t there.
“Eric Bailly blocked a fantastic chance and if you make a mistake make up for it and the character was spot on and they kept going and never gave up.”
Three of the last four Manchester derbies in all competitions have come at Old Trafford. Of those, the Red Devils won one, drew one and lost the other in the Carabao Cup.