LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned to his Under-23 players after a spate of injuries left him short of options for tonight’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.
Having lost Nemanja Matic before Sunday’s goalless draw with Liverpool, United’s injury woes worsened as Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard picked up knocks in the first half and Marcus Rashford completed the game with an ankle problem.
Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Mason Greenwood are also doubtful for the trip to London.
“We’ve not really had a session yet so I don’t think there’s a lot of positives. I don’t know,” Solskjaer, who has guided United to eight wins in 10 league games since taking over in December, told a news conference.
Solskjaer has called up midfielders Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and defender Jimmy Garner and backed the three teenagers to step up to the challenge.
“They have been part of our training for a long time,” Solskjaer added. “Angel has been with England Under-17s with Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
“Garner is a Michael Carrick but 20 years younger, Chongy will be taking people on. They are ready.”
The Norwegian admitted the decision to rush Lingard back for the Liverpool game was hasty and he will not make a similar mistake with Martial.
“In hindsight you could maybe say Jesse was eager, he ticked all the boxes in training. He’d done the recovery work and rehab but maybe it was a couple of days too early,” Solskjaer added.
“Martial isn’t going to be ready. Maybe Southampton (on Saturday) but we’re not going to risk another one.”
United are fifth in the table with 52 points from 27 games.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth will be without the injured Junior Stanislas and Steve Cook for Wednesday’s Premier League trip to Arsenal, manager Eddie Howe said.
Midfielder Stanislas, who last played in Bournemouth’s loss to Cardiff City this month, is battling a hip flexor issue while defender Cook is overcoming the groin problem that forced him out of the draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out.
“Junior will be out. Steve’s had a long-standing groin problem for a couple of months, having moments when it’s been better than in other moments and then in the build-up to the game it got too much for him,” Howe told reporters.
“It was a real blow to lose him (Cook). He’s been one of the big leaders in our dressing room and we missed him.”
Howe said striker Callum Wilson (knee) and midfielder David Brooks (ankle) were making progress from their injuries but would not be available for the trip to London.
“We haven’t seen them join in training yet, and that shows you they won’t be ready for this game,” Howe added.
Bournemouth, who sit 10th in the standings with 34 points from 27 games, are looking to snap a run of three games without a victory.