Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that midfielder Daley Blind should be back in action by Christmas.
Blind has been sidelined since the international break, during which he sustained a knee ligament injury while playing in the Netherlands' 6-0 win over Latvia.
The £14 million summer signing has missed United's last three matches and will miss the forthcoming fixtures against Southampton and Liverpool, but could be in contention for the match against Aston Villa on December 20.
Blind and Shaw
“It’s not so heavy as I have already said," Van Gaal responded when asked about the extent of Blind's injury, according to the Manchester Evening News. "His return date? Not next week, I don’t know… Christmas maybe - maybe Christmas. At the end of December maybe we see light at the end of the tunnel."
Van Gaal also gave an update on left-back Luke Shaw, who injured his ankle in last month's 2-1 win over Arsenal.
"There are no serious complications," the veteran Dutch coach confirmed. "He has sustained an ankle ligament injury. He will be out for the next few weeks because of this."
Angel di Maria
Another Manchester United star out of Monday night's game against Southampton is record signing Angel di Maria, who pulled up in the early stages of Saturday's 3-0 win over Hull City with a hamstring injury.
But Van Gaal reassured fans that the Argentinian superstar will soon be back in action, adding: "Di Maria is not so serious but he won't play against Southampton."
One player who could be back for next week's match at St Mary's - although Van Gaal was reluctant to provide confirmation - is captain Wayne Rooney.
"It is his knee but we have to wait to say anything about it because you never know with a knee," the Manchester United manager commented. "But my opinion is it is not so heavy but I am not a doctor.
"We have to wait on a scan and we will know more."
But there was less positive news regarding Phil Jones (shin splints) and Anderson (fitness). Neither player is likely to line up against Ronald Koeman's side on Monday night.
But Rafael could make a surprise appearance after returning to training. The Brazilian recently said he was "ready to help" following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.