Man Utd hit with issues Ten Hag has 'never experienced' ahead of Newcastle match and Europe race

Newcastle United may have had their injury struggles this season but European-chasing rivals Manchester United are suffering with an absentee crisis of their own just days before welcoming the Magpies to Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag has just one fit centre-back to choose from at present after confirmation of Harry Maguire's recent setback. The England international joins Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof and Willy Kambwala on the sidelines as the injuries pile up.

That means Jonny Evans is currently the only fit option at the heart of the Manchester United defence and when Newcastle travel to the red half of Manchester, there is a realistic possibility that he and Dan Burn are the only fit, out and out centre-backs available for both sides.

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Newcastle's own issues in that position are well-documented, with Fabian Schar, Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles all on the treatment table. Emil Krafth has subsequently filled in alongside Burn in recent games.

“For over 10 years I am managing, I never had this experience,” Ten Hag said when asked about his mounting injury issues. “So huge, so many injury issues, so I trust all my experience, it can happen once in 10 years. Hopefully now I have to wait another 10 to have so many injuries to deal with.”

Newcastle will be hoping Manchester United's injury woes continue between now and the summer given the fierce and tight battle for European places at present. Before Monday evening's game, when Ten Hag takes his side to Crystal Palace, Newcastle sat two points, and places, above the Dutchman's team.

Chelsea (7th) have enjoyed a resurgence of late, while Tottenham (5th) are sinking like a stone. Newcastle (6th) are hoping to finish with a flourish in the battle for continental qualification.

The showdown at Old Trafford on May 15th will go a long way to deciding the race for Europe. Newcastle will hopefully have more options back in action in time for the crucial clash, while Ten Hag faces a selection headache.