Manchester United players were back in training on Thursday morning ahead of a crucial two months for the club.
With the final international break of the season behind them, Ralf Rangnick and his side have a clear run at their push for a top-four finish until the end of the season.
The club are already knocked out of every cup competition, and the league is the only measure of success that can still be gleaned from the campaign.
The break provided no respite for captain Harry Maguire. The England defender was booed by supporters during England’s Wembley victory against the Ivory Coast due to his poor recent form.
Harry Maguire arrives back at Manchester United’s training complex on Thursday morning
Fresh from helping Portugal qualify for the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo was back in training
He was defended by team-mates such as Harry Kane and manager Gareth Southgate, but focus on his form is only set to intensify as he returns to action with United.
Talk before the England’s recent friendlies had focused on Maguire’s suitability to wear the armband for United, with many suggesting it should be handed over to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo enjoyed a much more serene international fortnight as he helped Portugal to reach the World Cup finals, as they overcame Turkey and North Macedonia in the play-offs.
It is a pivotal couple of months for Ronaldo individually, with the 36-year-old forward unlikely to stick around at Old Trafford should United fail to secure Champions League football.
England outcast Marcus Rashford had his hood up as he rolled into the Carrington complex
Scott McTominay returned to first team action with Scotland during the international break
Even if they are able to hunt down Arsenal and secure a return to Europe’s premier competition, it’s far from a guarantee that their No 7 would stick around, and he is not the only one who could be entering the last few weeks of his United career.
Marcus Rashford is another star who’s future is uncertain. Reports have suggested that he could be willing to call time on his time at United, with his development having stagnanted over the past couple of seasons.
It is already known that interim head coach Ralf Rangnick is set to move upstairs in the summer, but with no future name in place to take the reins, there is a lack of direction for the club heading into the next pivotal period.
Bruno Fernandes was back in the UK after his heroics helped Portugal reach Qatar 2022
United return to action on Saturday evening when they face Leicester City at old Trafford.
Victory would put them back within touching distance of fourth-placed Arsenal, who do not play until taking on Crystal Palace on monday night.
The Gunners do also have a game in hand over United and fifth-placed Tottenham.
Ralf Rangnick will be aiming to push his side in their bid to secure a Champions League spot