Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing an injury crisis with up to 10 players set to miss Manchester United’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.
As if bolstering their top-four chances at Selhurst Park was not hard enough, United are having to deal with a glut of absentees.
Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones missed Sunday’s goalless draw with Liverpool, when Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard were forced off during an extraordinary first half.
All six will be missing at Palace, as will long-term absentees Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian along with highly-rated 17-year-old Mason Greenwood.
Marcus Rashford’s ankle injury also makes him a doubt for a match that caretaker boss Solskjaer approaches with a positive mindset.
“We’ve not really had a session yet, so I don’t think there are a lot of positives, no,” the former United striker said.
“We’ll have a good team out on the pitch definitely. There’ll be a chance for others.
“I’ve been sat on the outside getting a chance when this had happened.
“The players who came in (against Liverpool), Scott (McTominay) and Andy [Andreas Pereira], I thought they did fantastic.
“There you go, that’s the way it is. You’ve just got to be ready when you get it.”
Marcos Rojo, who last played on December 12, is set to be back involved on Wednesday but, given his peripheral role it is hardly a major boost for a United side keen to avoid any more setbacks after rushing back Lingard too soon.
“Martial is not going to be ready for this one,” Solskjaer said. “We can’t risk it.
“So, maybe Southampton, but we’re not going to risk another one too early.
“In hindsight, maybe we can say Jesse was eager, he ticked all the boxes in training had done the recovery work and the rehab but maybe it was a couple of days too early.
“But, then again, it was Liverpool and he was desperate to be a part of it. “
The sheer number of injuries opens up the chance for young talent to be brought in, with highly-rated Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and James Garner all travelling to Selhurst Park.
“They’ve been part of our training for a long time now,” Solskjaer said. “I’m sure Angel, he’s been successful with England Under-17s, there with (Jadon) Sancho, (Callum) Hudson-Odoi and (Phil) Foden.
“So, he has been a big part of that and, Angel, I am definitely sure that if he gets the chance, he’ll do well.
“Jimmy Garner is a Michael Carrick but 20 years younger, so I’m sure he’ll do well.
“And Chongy, he’ll definitely be taking people on if he comes on. But they’re ready, they’re kids.
“It’s hard when you’re a defender coming on if you’re 16, 17, but as an attacker you just go out there and express yourself. There’s your chance. They can win you the game, they don’t lose it for you.”
More established attacking options will be available to Solskjaer in the form of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez – big-name players with a point to prove at United.
"The two of them are good mates and they link up well together," Ole says of @RomeluLukaku9 and @Alexis_Sanchez. "So this might be a chance for them to find some form and give us a selection headache when everyone is fit again. Hopefully Alexis and Rom can step up." #MUFCpic.twitter.com/U0FSepc15d— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 26, 2019
“It’s a chance for them to play to their potential,” the Norwegian added.
“Reputation is one thing, the potential is high, because the two of them are good mates.
“They link up well together so this might be a chance for them two together to find some form and give us a selection headache for when everyone gets fit again. It’s been coming.”
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