In a pivotal week for Manchester United, the club managed to garner five points from a possible nine and more importantly kept their six-game unbeaten streak intact.
It seemed certain that United would succumb to their fourth loss of the season against Chelsea after Jorginho converted a late penalty.
Varane a huge blow for United
However, the comeback against the Blues came at a cost as Raphael Varane had to be substituted because of injury and the French defender had to be escorted off the ground with tears in his eyes.
Erik ten Hag’s immediate prognosis was not too bright and it seemed like the 29-year-old would miss the Qatar World Cup due to the injury he picked up.
The latest medical reports indicated that the World Cup-winning defender might have suffered a lesion of the femoral bicep in his thigh muscle and it is not as bad as expected.
Former United defender Jaap Stam was not as empathetic as Ten Hag and was critical of Varane for showing so much of his emotions on the pitch.
“He was very emotional. He fell down, was just laying on the pitch and after he stood up he was very emotional. When I saw it, it looked like he had a problem with his hamstring. But of course, we don’t know yet.
Varane needs to keep emotions in check
“I don’t know what to say about this, he probably thinks he is a doubt for the World Cup or whatever, but I can’t understand being so emotional on the pitch.
With Varane's injury looking like 3 to 4 weeks, he'll likely miss the following #mufc games…
🟡 Sheriff (H – EL)
⚒️ West Ham (H – PL)
🔵 Real Sociedad (A – EL)
🟣 Aston Villa (A – PL)
🟣 Aston Villa (H – EFL)
⚪️ Fulham (A – PL)
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) October 23, 2022
“You try to imagine yourself why a player is so emotional and why he is acting like that and I…I think there are other things that are worse than this,” Stam told Premier League Productions before the extent of the injury was made public.
The reaction was understandable as Ten Hag later revealed and the Frenchman must have wanted to be there for the World Cup and must have feared the worst.
France will begin their campaign against Australia on November 22. According to the latest injury update, the centre-back still has an outside chance of being fit by then.
Former Les Bleus boss Raymond Domenech advised current coach Didier Deschamps to not take any injured players with the team if they are to maintain any hope of retaining the trophy.
Domenech even went on to cite examples of four previous tournaments where France were considered to be one of the favourites but influential players who went there injured ended up derailing the entire team’s prospects.
World Cup hopes hang in the balance
“He could probably take Varane to the World Cup. But if we ask ourselves if he should take him, then no,” Domenech told L’Equipe via GFFN. “You don’t take someone who will completely pollute the whole preparation.
“We saw it in 2004 with Marcel Desailly, in 2008 with Patrick Vieira, I had it with William Gallas in 2010, and there was Zinédine Zidane in 2002.
“We don’t know if these players will be ready or not. It’s always the same, the group is polluted. I cited four examples from four different competitions for which we screwed up each time.”
From United’s perspective, Varane needs to regain full fitness before being thrown into the deep end especially considering his poor injury record in recent times.
He is crucial to Ten Hag’s plans this season and hopefully, he can return after the World Cup with renewed vigour as the Red Devils target a place in the top four.
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