Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Harry Maguire could be out for a few weeks with a calf injury.
The England centre-back had to come off midway through Saturday’s Premier League defeat to Aston Villa. Left-back Luke Shaw also left the field, leaving major concern over United’s defensive line.
Indeed, right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is ineligible for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Villarreal.
He picked up a red card in the opening Group F defeat to Young Boys earlier this month.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via the Manchester Evening News), Solskjaer provided an update on Maguire and Shaw.
“Luke has been in today so I’ll give him a chance to be involved, he didn’t train with the team,” the manager said.
“Harry is more or less definitely out, it doesn’t look good. It’s his calf, that might take a few weeks.
“Let’s see how quickly he recovers. He wanted to play against Villarreal, he missed the last game. We will have to make a few changes.”
Still, Solskjaer has Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly to choose from in his ranks. Phil Jones is also pushing for minutes following his recovery from injury.
The pressure has mounted on Solskjaer ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting at Old Trafford.
Not only did the loss to Young Boys see the Red Devils make the worst possible start to the group stage, but three defeats in four have seen the club exit the Carabao Cup too.
Villarreal and United last met in the Europa League final last season. While the match finished a draw – like the previous four meetings between the sides – the Spanish club triumphed on penalties.
Solskjaer expecting Man Utd, Villarreal test
“They’re very well organised, some very good individual players, technically very good. They can play from the back, with the technically-gifted players they have,” Solskjaer said.
“It is hard to press against them, which I thought we did well in the final.
“[It’s] difficult to create chances against them and we have to be better than in the final, better on the decision, better on the passing, more quality, maybe more tempo, to create chances. It was an even final.”
However, Cristiano Ronaldo has a fantastic career record against Villarreal and could push the Red Devils over the line.
“Of course Cristiano… you can almost say when he starts it is one guaranteed goal. He has that record and he will score goals,” Solskjaer added.
“Thirteen goals in 14 or 15 against Villarreal means he enjoys playing against them. He knows [Raul] Albiol, [Pau] Torres, top defenders. He is determined to score every time he is on the pitch.”
Solskjaer has faced fresh calls from former United team-mate Teddy Sheringham to win a trophy this season, or face his fate.