Friday, 17 April 2015

Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo all out of Manchester United's clash with Chelsea... as Louis van Gaal says Wayne Rooney may start in holding midfield

  • Manchester United have won six games in a row ahead of Chelsea clash
  • But Louis van Gaal will travel to Stamford Bridge without several key men
  • Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick and Daley Blind are all sidelined
  • Luke Shaw should start at left back on return to Manchester United side
  • Wayne Rooney may have to revert back to holding midfield role
  • Louis van Gaal describes injuries as 'the worst possible scenario' 
Wayne Rooney may have to revert 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 possible scenario’.

Jones and Blind, who was injured by Vincent Kompany’s controversial challenge in the Manchester derby last weekend, both have ankle injuries while Carrick limped out of that game with a tight calf and Rojo later reported a stomach muscle problem.

Michael Carrick limped off against Manchester City last week and will miss this weekend's clash with Chelsea

Phil Jones was replaced by Marcos Rojo last week and both are unavailable for Manchester United
Louis van Gaal also revealed in his pre-match press conference that Daley Blind is out injured
Louis van Gaal puts his arm round Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney during training this week

United’s injury setback means that Luke Shaw and Radamel Falcao could both be recalled against Jose Mourinho’s side.

‘We have four injuries who played the last match so that’s not so good for us,’ said Van Gaal. ‘We had very good hope that we should recover two of the four but it’s not like that. Carrick is out and Rojo is out, but also Blind and Jones.

‘That’s the worst scenario because Rojo and Jones are good at the left centre-back position. Evans is suspended so we don’t have many chances. Blind and Carrick can play the midfield holding position so I don’t have any other player, or Wayne Rooney can play in the position.

‘I took Jones off pitch (against Manchester City) because of injury, you all saw the tackle of Kompany against Blind. Only Rojo is surprising because he felt it the day after the match.

‘It’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. It’s always like that. It’s not special in the life of a manager or a team.’

Marouane Fellaini is embraced by his team-mates after scoring against rivals Man City last week
Wayne Rooney has impressed up front in recent weeks but may have to drop further back
Luke Shaw hasn't featured under Louis van Gaal recently but should return to play at left back
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 don’t like that. But I think he is fit enough.’

And he also hinted Robin van Persie could feature at some stage, adding: 'Van Persie is another story. This is the first week he has trained with us, with the first team, but maybe we have to think about him.'

With Chelsea holding an eight-point lead and a game in hand over third-placed United, Van Gaal believes it is asking too much for his team to win the title. He also claimed that Mourinho will be happy with a draw.

‘It is not logical but it is possible,’ he added. ‘It’s when and if, and I don’t believe in when and if. I believe in facts. We are behind Chelsea. We have to play against them and so do Arsenal so we can lay pressure on Chelsea’s shoulders.

Chris Smalling celebrates after netting the fourth goal in the comprehensive victory at Old Trafford

‘They play at home but I think that Chelsea will be satisfied with a draw. They will want to beat Manchester United and we want to beat them, the question is how long players can play with discipline.’
Robin van Persie (back right) has only been training with United for a week but may return to feature