Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has given an injury update ahead of his side's New Year's Day clash against Stoke City, confirming that four players are likely to be missing.
Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind are all likely to be absent from the clash, although Herrera will return to training this week and could be in contention to feature from the bench.
“We still have four injuries, and Marouane Fellaini is ill. Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Ander Herrera are currently out,” the Manchester United boss is quoted as saying.
He added: “Ander will be coming back this week.”
Antonio Valencia was forced from the pitch during Manchester United's 0-0 draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane at half time, being replaced by Rafael. As yet there is no confirmation on the winger's fitness ahead of the Stoke clash although it doesn't looks as though he will be out for the long term.
“Valencia has a groin injury but it is not too bad as we changed him at half-time. But we will have to wait and see,” said Van Gaal.
Along with taking off Valencia at half-time, the Manchester United boss also took off Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans after just 45 minutes. However he insisted that those substitutions were tactical and not enforced.
“I made the changes because of tiredness, not because players weren’t playing well,” Van Gaal explained. “I had to make changes, and could have made more because the strikers were on their last legs.
“The players were tired because we’ve had to play twice in 48 hours. It’s scientifically proven that the body can’t recover within two days, and we’ve seen the effects of that today.”
After their FA Cup third round game against Yeovil Town on January 4, Manchester United take on Southampton and QPR in the Premier League.
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