Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered a team injury update ahead of his side’s Europa League match Thursday. United are back home at Old Trafford against Serbian club Partizan Belgrade in group play.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, the Norwegian confirmed that defender Victor Lindelöf will miss Thursday’s contest after picking up a sprain during United’s Carabao Cup match against Chelsea last week.
No, Victor is out, so he won’t be available,” Solskjaer said. “
Hopefully he can make the weekend but I’m not sure.”
More United Defenders on the Mend
The final international break of 2019 is scheduled for November 11-19, and Solskjaer said following that period we could see more injured United players suiting back up in time for this year’s festive fixtures.
Lindelöf’s fellow centre-back Eric Bailly could return in about three weeks, as he is still recuperating after undergoing surgery in July. Solskjaer gave the same timeline for fullback Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who has been sidelined recovering from a serious knee sprain he suffered while on loan at Fulham last term, ultimately requiring ligament surgery.
“They’re working on the grass, they’re working with the fitness staff,” Solskjaer said. “
I think we can see them coming into training, especially Eric, in the next two to three weeks. Hopefully, he can join the boys and he won’t take too long.
“Maybe we’ll see them in a Reserves [Under-23s] game but I think they’ve both come through the surgery well.”
Paul Pogba Could Return in Time for the Festive Fixtures, Too
Perhaps the United player missed the most is attacking midfielder Paul Pogba, who is expected to make his triumphant return to the pitch December 1. The Frenchman has been nursing a foot injury since September, missing the last 10 of United’s 12 fixtures.
In an interview with French news station RMC Sport, Pogba revealed the latest timetable for his return.
“I will still be under plaster for 10 days,” the World Cup winner explained. “After, I still have two weeks of rehabilitation.”
Scott McTominay has done a tremendous job of strengthening the midfield in his teammate’s absence, with Brazilian midfielder Fred growing in his role week by week.
However, the middle is sorely lacking Pogba’s creativity and attacking potential. When pressed about his player’s return on Wednesday, Solskjaer echoed Pogba’s remarks with some words of optimism himself.
“I think Paul said it himself, didn’t he?” said the former United player. “
It won’t be too long until he’s out of his cast and he’s going to work though the international break. Hopefully, we’ll have him back in early December.”
Pogba’s affinity for the theatrics and his obvious skill when handling the ball should bode well for United as they enter a contentious festive period, which could ultimately be the deciding factor on whether they’ll earn some much-needed silverware at the end of the 2019/20 campaign. Despite the ongoing, often unwarranted criticism United’s £93.2m man receives, there’s no denying the level of experience and consistency he brings to his side.
Following the Partizan clash, Manchester United host Brighton Hove Albion in the Premier League before the start of the international break.