Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is sweating on the availability of defence general Harry Maguire ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg clash against old rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
England ace Maguire, a summer capture from Premier League outfit Leicester City for a fee in the region of £85million, picked up a knock in the 0-0 stalemate at Wolves at the weekend in the third round of the FA Cup.
And Solskjaer wants to give the central defender as much time as possible to recover before he decides whether or not he is fit enough to face Pep Guardiola’s side. Other potential absentees include Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.
The festive period and this campaign in general have been trying times for United with some decent performances but also some instantly forgettable displays, too. Pundits and fans alike are still questioning whether or not Solskjaer is the right man to lead the Old Trafford giants back to the path of glory.
The Carabao Cup gives the Theatre of Dreams aces the chance to potentially reach Wembley and possibly snare some silverware that could be seen as salvaging a topsy-turvy campaign. The Red Devils face City for the chance to come up against either Leicester City or Aston Villa, who face off in the other semi-final encounter.
Speaking to members of the press ahead off the showdown, Solskjaer says that it is still too early to decide whether or not Maguire will make the cut for the big game. He added:
“It is a bit early yet with Maguire. We are going to give him as much time as possible. He was hobbling about but there is time, so we will just wait.”
The boss added that given how busy the fixture list is, that it is not a time to go out on the training pitch and work hard, rather that the team are simply resting their aching limbs and making the most of time to do recovery work.
Solskjaer will no doubt be hoping that his stars can pull off a victory similar to that they enjoyed last month when they won 2-1 against City in a top-flight clash – and followed that triumph with another league scalp, this time in the shape of that of Tottenham Hotspur.
And the Norwegian coach says that his side must aim for performances such as those if they are to have any joy. He added:
“We had two good wins against Tottenham and City, in a short spell. So, we know we can do that physically, but every game lives its own life. When you get highs like that, I’m sure we will look back on it and say that’s ‘the Man United we want to see’.”