Wayne Rooney may have to shift back to a midfield role at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night after Michael Carrick and Daley Blind were two of four Manchester United players ruled out of the clash with Chelsea.
Centre-backs Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo will also miss the trip to the Premier League leaders, and with Jonny Evans completing his six-match ban, Louis van Gaal described it as “the worst scenario”.
Jones and Blind, who was injured by Vincent Kompanya s controversial challenge in the Manchester derby last weekend, both have ankle injuries while Carrick has a problem in his calf and Rojo later reported a stomach muscle problem.
a I have to tell that we have four injuries who played the last match so thata s not so good for us,a said Van Gaal. a We had very good hope that we should recover two of the four but ita s not like that. Carrick is out and Rojo is out, but also Blind and Jones.
“Thata s the worst scenario because Rojo and Jones are good players at the left central defender position. Evans is suspended so we dona t have many choices. Blind and Carrick could play the midfield holding position and I dona t have any other option, or I have to play Wayne Rooney in that position again. I have to puzzle a lot for tomorrow.”
“Other players can take profit of the momentum now. Ita s always like that. Ita s not special in the life of a manager or a team.”
“You have seen that I took Jones off pitch (against Manchester City) because of injury, you have seen that Carrick was off the pitch, you have seen the tackle of Kompany against Blind. Only Rojo is a little bit surprising because he felt it the day after the match.”
“Ita s because of the distance between the matches. Blind and Jones were very close to playing but it was not enough.”
“Other players can take profit of the moment now. Ita s always like that. Ita s not special in the life of a manager or a team.”
United’s crisis could see manager Van Gaal recalling Radamel Falcao and Luke Shaw into the team against Chelsea.
Asked if Shaw could return for the first time since being substituted in the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal last month amid concerns over his fitness, Van Gaal replied,”Maybe you shall see tomorrow. You never know. Luke is fit enough I think. He has already had more than four or five weeks with no match and I dona t like that. But we train and I think he is fit enough.”