Manchester United will be without six first-team players for Thursday's visit of Chelsea, interim boss Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.
United were without Luke Shaw, Fred, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba for Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Arsenal, in which centre-back Harry Maguire started on the bench in the wake of a bomb threat at his family home.
Maguire had been expected to return to the starting lineup for the Chelsea game but Rangnick has now confirmed that the club captain will join the aforementioned quartet on the sidelines because of a minor knee injury.
To make matters worse, Jadon Sancho is unavailable after suffering with tonsillitis, while right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a major doubt to feature with an issue which Rangnick did not specify.
"Fred is unfortunately not yet available,” the boss began. “He tried to train yesterday but after training I had a long conversation with him and he just told me that he doesn't feel fully fit, he's not at 100%, and with a player like Fred who's always committed to give his very best, I don't think it makes sense, with the muscular injury that he had, to play him too early, because that would mean we take the risk of a re-injury and this is something that I don't want to do. So he won't be available unfortunately tomorrow.
“And apart from that we have Harry Maguire who is not available. He has some issues with his knee, not a big thing – some niggle in his knee. He hasn't been training, neither yesterday or today.
“Paul obviously, Fred, Edinson, Luke Shaw and Jadon – Jadon is ill, he has tonsillitis since yesterday, couldn't train today and will also be not available tomorrow.”
With so many first-team players unavailable, Rangnick admitted it is 'possible' that he will give some of United's academy stars an opportunity to impress.
“We have quite a few players missing tomorrow and one or two still with question marks so we will have to wait and see until tomorrow to see if, for example, Aaron Wan-Bissaka can play," he explained.
“I already played Hannibal at Liverpool so it's possible [I’ll play youngsters] but we also have to be fair enough to those players.
“It has to be the right moment, they should have a chance to play well and perform well so it's not just pushing them into a game. I think it should also be the right moment.”
Source : 90min