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Ole Gunnar Solskjær says Manchester United could be without Harry Maguire for a “few days or a few weeks”, as they wait to assess the damage to their captain’s ankle and admitted he will be forced to make wholesale changes for the match against Leicester City on Tuesday.
Maguire was substituted in the latter stages of United’s 3-1 victory at Aston Villa after a collision with Anwar El Ghazi. The win ensured the title race remained alive for at least another 48 hours, but Maguire’s withdrawal – the first Premier League minutes he has missed since joining the club – was of concern to Solskjær post-match.
Solskjær effectively ruled Maguire out of Tuesday’s game with Leicester, but insisted it is too soon to put any further detailed prognosis on the injury. “The boy [El Ghazi] landed on top of him and he twisted his ankle,” Solskjær said. Leicester are battling to make the top four, along with Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool and Everton.
“Harry has been excellent and it’s almost unheard of, the minutes he’s played without missing him. We’ve a [Europa League] final to look forward to and hopefully it will be with Harry; it might be a few weeks, it might be a couple of days, we don’t know. Hopefully it won’t be too bad, but I’m not a doctor, and we’ve got to scan him on Monday.
“He may be available on Thursday [against Liverpool], but I don’t know, it might be longer. I’ll tell you more on Thursday.” United host Leicester and Liverpool this week before leaders Manchester City play again on Friday night, by which time the gap at the top could be down to just four points.
Solskjær remained realistic about any chance of putting pressure on Pep Guardiola’s side. “It is what it is. It’s very unlikely they won’t get the points they need, but we need to do our job,” he said. “Playing Tuesday and Thursday will be difficult, but I don’t put it beyond these boys. They can go again.”
The victory at Villa Park was the first in a run of three league games in five days, and Solskjær hinted he will have no choice but to make major changes on Tuesday. “They’re capable of doing Sunday and then Thursday, but to put Tuesday in too is demanding too much of them,” the United manager said.
“At this level, playing that many games is impossible. It’s physically impossible, and I’ve got to make sure I don’t run the risk of them getting injured. The boys who played Thursday against Roma and today will not play 90 minutes on Tuesday, that’s for sure.
“We’ll sit down on Tuesday morning and see who’s ready. But we’ve shown they can go again as a group so many times. But we won’t be training, we’ll just see who’s ready to play on Tuesday.”