With Smalling suspended and Evans, Jones, Rojo and Rafael injured, Manchester United manager Van Gaal will be without any reliable defenders against Crystal Palace and will also miss the services of Radamel Falcao who is sidelined with a calf injury.
According to reports, Radamel Falcao is going to sit out Manchester United’s fixture on Saturday as he continues to suffer from a calf injury and Rojo is set to be out for 6 weeks after dislocating his shoulder. Meanwhile Michael Carrick is expected to partner either Tyler Blackett or Paddy McNair at the heart of the defence and are likely to be flanked by Luke Shaw and Valencia. Rafael is suffering from a pulled hamstring and is likely to sit out with Antonio Valencia taking his place on the right flank. However Van Gaal refused to reveal who exactly will be pairing up at the heart of United’s defence, suggesting that he could still change his mind regarding the starting eleven.
“I have to solve a problem. I don’t want to say who is playing yet. If I say that [what we have done in training] then I give away what I’m trying to do. We’ve trained today but I may do things differently.”
Meanwhile Di Maria and Janujaz are expected to start on the wings for Manchester United with Robin Van Persie playing as the lone striker. He will be assisted by Wayne Rooney in the No 10 position however Mata could also figure in the game with Rooney playing higher in the field and Blind playing in a defensive role. Falcao will again be missing in the United squad and it remains to be seen if he can effectively team up with Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United lost out two key defenders in their clash against Manchester City-Rojo and Smalling. While Smalling is currently serving a 3 match suspension for his reckless tackle, Rojo is set to be out for 6 weeks after dislocating his shoulder. Van Gaal believes that the injury could be much worse and that if the defender underwent surgery, he would be out for 12 weeks.
“Marcos (Rojo) dislocated his shoulder but did it in a positive way. We don’t need to operate on him. It’s a relief but maybe, with this injury, it is very difficult to prevent it from happening again. That is the problem.”
“He (Rojo) saw a specialist yesterday evening who said the conservative way to heal it is best. For him, it was positive. Always with these injuries, I cannot change that. The human body has been made by God – not by me. Conservatively, it can be less than six weeks. If we have to operate, 12 weeks.”
Manchester United are likely to be concerned with Radamel Falcao’s form with many suggesting that the striker is being rushed from his serious knee injury. However Van Gaal dismissed such suggestions, indicating that he was not worried about Falcao’s form.
“The problem for Falcao is because of balance in the game. I had to change, he came in and assisted a goal. Then in training he was injured. I cannot judge now because he is injured and I changed him not because of his performance but because of the balance of the team, which is much more important than the individual.”
However Van Gaal stopped short of self-pitying himself though he regretted the fact that he cannot choose the same starting line-up in two successive games due to the injuries suffered by the players.
“When I want to select the same line-up, I cannot. It’s the same every week. It is like it is and I don’t want to complain or cry because I have great belief in the players, myself and my staff. Also the supporters who are supporting us despite the results.”
However Van Gaal will be aware that the fans will not continue to support him for much longer as voices of dissent are already brewing at Old Trafford.