Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that he'll have to plan for next week's Premier League clash against Crystal Palace without Marcos Rojo, who is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a dislocated shoulder.
Rojo hit the ground in agony after rushing out to challenge countrymen Martin Demichelis in the Manchester derby, with his absence leaving 10-man United desperately short of experience in defence and ultimately susceptible to Sergio Aguero's winning goal.
Van Gaal had plenty ponder after a 1-0 defeat in his first meeting with the Citizens, but despite admitting Rojo's the latest man to join a lengthy injury list refuse to blame an underwhelming start to the season on those key absentees.
11 first-team options now ruled out
In his post-match interview with BBC Sport the Dutchman conceded: "The shoulder is out, so you never know how long that takes [for Rojo's recovery]. I have to wait until tomorrow but he shall not play against Crystal Palace.
"We have injuries but we still have 11 players to play and they are very good players. I don't cry for that, but it is sometimes difficult to select the best team. I think I can manage that."
Defensively United look threadbare
Van Gaal now has a serious job on his hands patching up a thoroughly unimpressive and under-strength back four before Palace visit Old Trafford next weekend, with Rojo and Chris Smalling both definitely ruled out.
Smalling will miss out through suspension after stupidly getting himself sent off against City for two bookable offences, which means Van Gaal's centre-back pairing for that showdown must now both be replaced.
Jonny Evans and Phil Jones remain sidelined, which means Sunday substitutes Michael Carrick and Paddy McNair could form one of the most unlikely central defensive partnerships every seen at the Theatre of Dreams unless United's luck with injuries changes dramatically.
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