Manchester United travel to London to face Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea FC without German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, but there is positive news on Phil Jones as well as left-back Luke Shaw.
Louis van Gaal still has a host of first-team players ruled out of the game against Chelsea due to injury, but the Dutchman will be able to welcome back England international Phil Jones, who successfully completed a full training session with the team on Friday.
Meanwhile, Bastian Schweinsteiger continues to be sidelined with a knee injury he suffered in the Red Devils’ 3rd round FA Cup clash against Sheffield United in early January. With United including left-back Luke Shaw in their squad for the UEFA Europa League knock-out stages, Van Gaal provided an update on the youngster’s recovery and explained why that decision had been made.
Schweinsteiger ruled out, Jones set for return
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes there is light at the end of the tunnel for his team as far as injuries are concerned, with several key first-team players — in particular, defenders — currently spending time in the infirmary. The Dutchman was able to provide updates on England defender Phil Jones, as well as Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Van Gaal is quoted by the official club website as saying: “Jones is coming back. He has trained today [Friday] with the first team so that’s good. Rojo is doing well. It’s not that he can train with us but, still, he is doing well. Shaw is doing well and Valencia is doing well so it’s not bad. Schweinsteiger is still out, yes.”
Optimism for Luke Shaw
At his pre-match press conference ahead of the Chelsea game, Van Gaal was asked about Manchester United’s decision to include Luke Shaw in the UEFA Europa League squad, with the young left-back continuing his recovery from a horrific double leg-break earlier in the season against PSV Eindhoven.
“He can play in the final, I have said that to him,” Van Gaal said (via manutd.com). “That gives him spirit and a goal that he has to live for and it is not impossible, in my opinion it is not impossible.”
The Red Devils boss also lamented the number of ‘contact’ injuries the club have suffered in the recent past, while expressing optimism for the season ahead with players gradually starting to make their comebacks. “I cannot prevent contact injuries and we were very unlucky with contact injuries at that time,” added Van Gaal. “We don’t have muscle injuries, only contact injuries and that is unbelievable. Now the players are coming back and they are fit again so I can continue how I have started the season this season.”