Manchester United substitutes have given Ralf Rangnick fresh options in addition to potential injury returns

Manchester United battled to a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup gave manager Ralf Rangnick the result he wanted.

The performance still left a lot to be desired, and there were concerning performances from Marcus Rashford and to an extent, Mason Greenwood.

But we are choosing to take the glass half-full approach, and ahead of United’s match with Aston Villa in the Premier League at the weekend, then the manager’s second half substitutes gave reason to be positive.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Trio of substitutes make impact

Anthony Elanga: Would it be harsh to say Elanga did more in five minutes than Marcus Rashford contributed in 85? The youngster was a real livewire, giving United exactly what was needed late in the game.

With Rashford’s dour form and Anthony Martial not being considered, Elanga has put himself into the first team reckoning if United go with a 4-2-3-1 again.

Jesse Lingard: Jesse Lingard came on and helped United settle and close out the game, impressing with his close control and ability to keep possession.

The attacking midfielder could give United a fresh option right now when the team need inspiration, and he looked to be playing with full confidence despite his lack of match action.

It would now not be a surprise to see Lingard start any of United’s next three matches.

Donny van de Beek: Van de Beek could be the big winner of the night after a useful display off the bench. He could step in for Scott McTominay at the weekend with the midfielder set to miss the next league game through suspension.

Ralf Rangnick praised the Dutchman after the game, telling The MEN: “From the very moment when we changed to a diamond in the last 20 minutes, when Donny came on, from then on we controlled the game.”

Nemanja Matic will also be battling to come back into the side, but Van de Beek will hope to have done enough to warrant a start himself.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Four players to return from injury?

These three fresh and rejuvenated faces give Ralf Rangnick new options for the upcoming games against Aston Villa, West Ham and Middlesbrough. And they are not the only ones.

Rangnick told the club website that Harry Maguire and Phil Jones are likely to bolster his defensive options at the weekend, although he will be tempted to stick with Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho missed the FA Cup win with injury too, and they will both be striving to get fit and make themselves available, giving United two more exciting attacking options for Saturday’s fixture.

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