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Man United boss Erik ten Hag preaches patience as Mason Mount faces former club Chelsea

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says patience is required to get the best out of Mason Mount as the England midfielder prepares for a first return to boyhood club Chelsea on Thursday.

Mount, 25, swapped Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford in the summer in a £55 million deal but has struggled for form and fitness at his new club.

He did, however, mark his latest return to first-team action with a goal from the bench in an otherwise dismal 1-1 draw at Brentford for Ten Hag's side.

Despite having an injury-ravaged squad to pick from, the Dutch coach says he will be careful not to overload Mount as the midfielder seeks to rediscover the form that made him a fans' favourite at Chelsea and earned him 36 caps for the Three Lions.

Mount came through the academy at Stamford Bridge and was part of the team that won the Champions League in 2021 before his acrimonious summer departure when, with just a year left on his contract, he headed for the exit having failed to agree fresh terms.

“He’s a fantastic football player but it’s important first that he is getting and keeping fit because he has had three injuries,” said Ten Hag on Wednesday.

“You see it now with Licha (Lisandro Martinez), so another injury, so you want to avoid and we have to do this carefully.

“This is the first objective, to keep him fit. Of course, at the same time we want to use him so that he can benefit and contribute to the team like he did on Saturday when he had a big impact."

Meanwhile, Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans look set to bolster United’s beleaguered backline for the game. The Red Devils have been besieged by issues, with Victor Lindelof becoming the latest player to pick up a muscle injury.

The Sweden international’s hamstring issue in the 1-1

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