Manchester United will be without three key players for their game against Everton this weekend, it has been confirmed.
The Red Devils go into the game on the verge of securing their qualification for the Champions League this season, and can take a giant leap towards doing just that with three points at the weekend.
However they could face a difficult task with Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones all out of action for the clash. Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal did confirm however that there is a chance that Daley Blind could be back in contention.
The Dutchman picked up a knock against Chelsea last weekend and is in a race against time to make it onto the pitch at Goodison Park. When asked if Carrick, Blind, Jones or Rojo might return on Sunday, Van Gaal confirmed: "Maybe only one, but there is still a question mark. For you, I shall say it is Daley Blind, but there is a question mark."
There was also more bad injury news for the Red Devils with the confirmation that Rafael is unlikely to play again this season after suffering a rib injury while on duty with the U21's.
The Brazilian full-back has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford this term and is likely to have played his last game for the club before being moved on in the summer. Adnan Januzaj is closing in on making a comeback however.
"Rafael, it is unbelievable," Van Gaal said. "He has broken his ribs so he shall not play anymore this season for Manchester United very unfortunately. Januzaj is not such a heavy injury."
With a top four finish all but secure Manchester United are now looking up towards finishing in third place to ensure automatic qualification for the Champions League. Just one point currently separates them in third from rivals Manchester City below them with six games still to play.
Van Gaal expained: "When you win third place is reachable and a few months ago nobody was thinking about that apart from me, the third position in the table is good because you are certainly qualified for the Champions League and it would be better than our pre-season goals."
Michael Carrick in particular has been key for Manchester United in their recent key wins, and if the are to finish third then victory over Everton is vital.
Blind has been another key cog down one flank and will be hard to replace if he fails to make it in time. The Red Devils have struggled badly with injuries this season at times but seemed to be over it - however their bad luck is coming back at just the wrong time.
Can Manchester United win without their key stars?
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