Manchester United will have to field a makeshift defence against Sunderland, manager Louis van Gaal has revealed.
Injuries to Marcos Rojo, Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw have severely diminished United’s defensive ranks – while Phil Jones has just returned from a lengthy lay-off.
Van Gaal has preferred the combination of right-footed Chris Smalling and left-footed Daley Blind as his first-choice centre-back pairing so far this term, but now faces the prospect of a defensive reshuffle.
“The left-footed players, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo, are injured, so I have a problem,” said Van Gaal, whose side progressed to the fourth round of the League Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ipswich Town at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“I have changed every player except a left-footed player so Daley Blind has played all the minutes [this season].
“We have to spare some players, but I cannot spare Blind because all the left-footed players are injured.
“Smalling had also played all the minutes and because of that I substituted him [against Ipswich] and brought Jones in.
“It is not so easy to do that, but I asked him [Jones] after the game if he felt fit and he said he did. He could easily have played more minutes so that’s a good signal.”
United have made a promising start to the Premier League season and sit second.