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Eriksen close to making Man. United return

Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen. Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP

Christian Eriksen’s early return from an ankle injury could give Manchester United’s bid for success on three fronts before the end of the season a boost.

The Danish midfielder was expected to be sidelined until late April but returned to team training on Tuesday.

United will have to cope without Eriksen and the suspended Casemiro once more for the visit of Brentford to Old Trafford on Wednesday and their presence has been badly missed in recent weeks.

Erik ten Hag’s men have not won a Premier League game since mid-February due to a dip in form and a series of cup commitments.

“The midfield department, games will be decided always in the midfield,” said Ten Hag of the importance of Eriksen and Casemiro at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“So, when you miss two quality players, it’s clear but you have a squad and when you don’t have them you still have to win.”

United are into the quarter-finals of the Europa League, last four of the FA Cup and lifted the League Cup in February to end a six-year wait to win a trophy.

But they have slipped to fifth in the Premier League after being outplayed and outfought by Newcastle in a 2-0 defeat on Sunday.

“We had a very bad performance because the opponent wanted it more than we (did). They were sharper,” added Ten Hag on being beaten at St. James’ Park.

“You can see that in the challenges – we won only 16 from 61 challenges in offence and in defence the opponent beats us 48 from 78 challenges. Then you can’t win a game.”

Ten Hag is seeking a response against Brentford, who inflicted a humiliating 4-0 defeat on United earlier in the season.

But he said the Red Devils form in cup competitions is proof his side are not running out of steam after a physically demanding few months.

“We beat Fulham (in the FA Cup) – that’s a Premier League opponent.

“We beat Newcastle in the Carabao (League) Cup, it’s a Premier League opponent, so no concern. We know we can beat Premier League teams.”

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