Manchester United are still bereft of the services of key players ahead of Sunday’s visit to Sunderland.
Striker Robin van Persie and winger Antonio Valencia have returned for the trip up North, but the injury concerns which have troubled coach Louis van Gaal’s squad prior to the start of the season has not vanished.
And the 63-year-old tactician fears he could have about seven players sidelined for the game at Sunderland.
“We have seven injuries, so that’s a lot,” Van Gaal explained. “In my career as a trainer-coach, we’ve never had seven injuries in my selection, and the last game it was nine, so we are progressing!”
United will be without four of their midfielders, including summer signing Ander Herrera and Belgian Marouane Fellaini, who faces a late fitness assessment before the afternoon kick-off at the Stadium of Light.
The Dutch coach said: “But Okay, seven injuries, plus Fellaini who has an ankle problem, so we’ll have to wait and see because (on Saturday) he’ll have a scan. It is always better to do that after two or three days and not at once. I cannot say anything about that- but he is injured, yes.
“Herrera is also injured, so we have four midfielders out. (Michael) Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini and (Jesse) Lingard. So we are a little bit thin in midfield and it’s a problem that I have.”
As well as Van Persie, who is back to the squad after an extended break post Netherlands’ third-place finish at this summer’s World Cup, and Valencia; defender Jonny Evans is back but not match fit while new boy Marcos Rojo processes his work permit.
“Rojo is fit and ready to play but he doesn’t have a work permit so we have to wait,” he added.
United lost their opening game of the Premier League season at home to Swansea and will hope to respond immediately with the match at Sunderland.