Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has confirmed that he has nine players who will miss their game against West Ham this weekend.
The Red Devils have been badly affected by injuries this season, to the point where almost an entire team have been sidelined at once.
The problem looked to be easing for Van Gaal, with the likes of Chris Smalling and Michael Carrick closing in on making their comebacks, while summer signing Luke Shaw is believed to be close to making his Manchester United debut.
For their last game against Leicester, which they lost 5-3, the injury list was down to six, however now they're back to square one. Speaking ahead of their weekend fixture against West Ham at Old Trafford, Van Gaal has confirmed that he will be without no less than nine players, with his defence particularly hard hit.
Smalling suffered a setback in training which means he will miss the game, while Jonny Evans limped off in the defeat against Leicester and will be out for some time. Phil Jones is still some way away from full fitness. To make matters worse, Tyler Blackett is suspended for the game having been sent off at the King Power Stadium.
"We have nine injuries and one suspension with Blackett. The younger players can have their chance now," he told reporters today.
He continued: "All the three right centre halves [Evans, Smalling and Jones] are out and Blackett is suspended. Evans is a very difficult thing. His bone is bruised a lot and we have to wait and see and evaluate.
“Smalling yesterday in a training session, he ran out because he had stiff legs so we’ll wait and see what that’s meaning but I don’t take risks. You have to be fit and I always trust younger players.”
The defeat on Sunday means that Manchester United now have just one win in their first give Premier League games this season. Van Gaal was bought in to oversee the transition of the Red Devils following David Moyes' disastrous 10 months in charge - and having been in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich during his illustrious career has conceded he is staring down the barrel of his biggest challenge yet.
Asked if this is his toughest job, the Dutch boss said: "Maybe, but we have to see in a year, not in a week when we have nine injuries."
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